April 20, 2024


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10 disasters you’d never expect home insurance to cover

5 min read

A typical home insurance policy protects against all kinds of unexpected threats, like fire, theft and — falling satellites?

Almost 4 million homes in the United States had a claim in 2018, according to the latest data from the Insurance Information Institute. That number would be a whole lot higher if homeowners knew everything they could file for.

Considering how many people are overpaying for their insurance by $1,000 a year or more, they should at least be getting their money’s worth. Here are 10 things you might not realize are covered.

1. Plane poop

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This one’s pretty bad, which is all the more reason to be glad for your coverage.

Airplane toilets can leak, on occasion, and the cold of high altitudes can cause the waste to freeze into chunks of “blue ice.”

If you hear a loud bang one day, only to find an unexplained hole in your roof and a lingering smell, icy aircraft droppings might be the reason. It’ll be a weird call with your insurer, but you should walk away with money for the repairs.

2. Wild animals

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If an angry deer crashes through your front door, your home insurance policy will help clean up the wreckage.

Home insurance typically covers the damage wild animals do to your dwelling as well as structures like sheds — though not the furniture and goods inside. Also, keep in mind you may not get all of the money back that you paid for your damaged property, since the value of the item could have decreased over time.

Coverage can also vary depending on what kind of animal inflicted the damage, the Insurance Information Institute says. Are you protected against racoons? It all depends on the fine print and what counts as “vermin.”

3. Dorm thievery

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Did your kid’s phone or laptop walk away after their latest dorm party? Those missing belongings could be covered as long as your teen is living on campus residence.

Off-campus thievery usually isn’t covered, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Insurance company Nationwide warns that many home insurance policies only allow you to claim 10% of your usual limit for personal items when it comes to your kid’s dorm. So if you’re concerned your teen might be bunking with a burglar, the company recommends buying renters insurance instead for better coverage and lower premiums.

4. Headstone hooliganism

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Call it after-life insurance.

Turns out the right home insurance policy will protect memorials to your loved ones against grave robbery, vandalism and storm damage.

Headstones, urns and mausoleums could all be covered — even memorial benches and ashes pressed into diamonds.

5. Dog bites

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Your dog might act like a puppy around your family, but those teeth can still do some serious damage. Thankfully, the third-party liability coverage on your home insurance will likely extend to your pets.

If your dog bites someone or damages your neighbor’s property, your insurance company could help you deal with the repercussions — at least the financial ones.

However, insurers don’t treat all dogs evenly. Your coverage might not extend to frequent biters or blacklisted breeds such as pit bulls and Rottweilers.

6. Spoiled food

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Your insurer isn’t going to give you a refund on that moldy cheese that’s way past its expiration date, but it will probably reimburse you if a power outage knocks out your fridge.

Be aware that, while power failures caused by a windstorm will probably be covered, not all policies protect you against widespread blackouts caused by your utility company.

And if you’re planning to file a claim, please don’t hoard your rotten produce as proof. Take photos and try to dig up those grocery receipts in case your insurance company requests them.

7. Golfing mishaps

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People who move in next to a golf course may not anticipate the barrage of balls in their future, leaving divots in their walls and smashing their windows to smithereens.

But hey, accidents happen — like that time you accidentally smacked your friend with a club, remember?

In either case, your home insurance has your back. Typical policies will cover both injuries and property damage.

8. Space rocks

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A football-field sized asteroid narrowly missed Earth in June 2020, but don’t worry. If your house had been destroyed in the celestial encounter, your insurance company would be there to help you pick up the pieces.

Asteroids, meteorites and satellites all fall under the “falling objects” category, so hypothetically you could file a claim of property damage if such an event occurred.

Statistically speaking, it’s unlikely any space debris that hits your house would be big enough to cause serious damage, but it’s nice to have peace of mind.

9. Volcanic eruptions

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While typical home insurance policies don’t cover natural disasters like earthquakes or floods, most make an exception for bubbling hot lava.

Your policy probably insures against fires caused by volcano eruptions, the Insurance Information Institute says, as well as property loss due to “volcanic blast, airborne shockwaves, ash, dust or lava flow.”

Plus, if you have to skip town to avoid a coming catastrophe, your insurance will help cover the cost of any looting or vandalism that takes place while you’re gone.

10. Drone disturbances

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All of a sudden it seems like drones are everywhere. The technology has a ton of potential, but your neighbors might not see them that way.

If you get sued for accidentally invading someone’s privacy — say, your drone took a video of a random person inside their house — your home insurance policy could help protect you from liability, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Same goes if your piloting skills aren’t fully developed yet and you crash your drone into somebody or their property.

Check your coverage

While the fine print on a homeowners insurance policy can feel like a snore-fest, it’s important to take some time to fully understand what your policy covers.

Don’t be afraid to hop on the phone with your current insurer to clarify any questions you might have. And if you’re shopping around for a less costly policy, make sure you’re getting the same level of coverage (or better) as your previous insurer offered.

You can compare several homeowners insurance rates online, and be matched with a policy that’ll cost you up to $1,000 less per year for the same coverage.

Ensuring you have maximum coverage for the lowest price available is paramount — you’ll never know when you’ll need it.

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