What’s Covered by My Homeowner’s Insurance Policy?

Jul 31 2018

When your home is damaged by natural events, we know it can make you frustrated, sad, and stressed. And the insurance process can only add to that stress. What does your insurance policy cover? What isn’t covered? If your home is damaged, how much should you actually pay? These questions can be overwhelming and leave you wondering where to start. Here’s a brief overview of what’s covered (and what’s not) under the most basic homeowner’s insurance policy to give you an idea of how the insurance process works.

What Is the Most Common Insurance Policy?

While each insurance company is different, the most common homeowner’s insurance policy is the HO-3. The HO-3 policy covers most basic damages to your home, including water damage, fire and smoke damage, and storm damage. This coverage plan covers your home’s structure, your personal belongings and liability in the event of damage or injury. Typically, an HO-3 policy will also cover additional living expenses and protection for other structures on your property

What Does the HO-3 Policy Cover?

Generally, this coverage can include your heating and cooling systems, along with kitchen appliances, furniture, clothing, and other possessions. Coverage for other buildings on your property, such as a garage, barn, or shed, along with outdoor grills or fireplaces, swing sets, walls, or fences is also included. A swimming pool or other recreational equipment may also be covered, but those higher-risk items may require additional coverage.

Water Damage

water bucket next to water damage

Water damage because of weather or in-home appliances are often covered by the HO-3 policy. It can help cover water damage if the cause is sudden and accidental. This means your insurance covers water damage caused by:

  • Burst pipes
  • Broken water heater or water softener
  • Leaky HVAC system
  • Leaky roof from heavy rains

What Water Damage Isn’t Covered?

The HO-3 policy won’t cover the cost of repairs if your home was damaged by:

  • Flooding of rivers, lakes, or other bodies of water: Flood insurance is a separate policy. In fact, many areas in Minnesota require homeowners to purchase flood insurance if they live on a floodplain.
  • Something you could have prevented: For example, if you already had a hole in your roof before it started to rain and your home was damaged by the rain, your insurance company would label it as something you could have prevented.
  • Water backup from an outside sewer or drain:Typically, this policy won’t cover outside sewer leakage, but you are able to purchase additional sewer coverage that may help cover damage in that event.

Mold Damage

Mold is often not covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy unless the mold was caused by water damage from sources listed above. If mold grows in your house and it’s something you could have prevented, your insurance company won’t cover it.

Imagine that your basement floods. If mold grows because of the flooded basement it’s covered under the water damage portion of your policy. However, mold growing in your bathroom because it was insufficiently cleaned isn’t covered.

Fire and Smoke Damage

smoke and fire damage

As long as the fire wasn’t something you could have easily prevented, fire and smoke damage are covered by your policy. Even if your home only sustains smoke damage, and no fire damage,, homeowners insurance will generally cover repair or replacement as needed.This means that your home is covered if your home is damaged by:

  • Grease fires
  • Wildfires
  • Fire pits
  • Electrical fires

If a fire burns down your home, insurance would most likely pay for items like damaged furniture, clothing, and other personal property

What Fire Damage Isn’t Covered?

Your home isn’t covered when damaged by arson. Because arson is a criminal act, an insurance company has the discretion to withhold coverage. This regulation deters abusive homeowners from setting their homes on fire purposefully. In fact, deliberately setting your home on fire to file a claim on your insurance policy is known as arson insurance fraud. Your insurance company will investigate the fire, and if they determine arson was the cause the damage won’t be covered.
Fire damage while your home is vacant isn’t covered either. Insurance companies consider a home vacant if it hasn’t been occupied for over 30 days. However, there is a separate policy available that covers vacant homes if you’re planning on staying away from your home for extended periods of time.

Storm Damage

Your home is covered in most instances if damaged by a storm. Some of these include:

  • Lightning
  • Windstorm
  • Hail
  • Fallen objects
  • Water Damage

tree fallen on a house

That means your home is covered in the case of a tornado and a fallen tree, too. However, what’s covered and what isn’t can be tricky when it comes to storm damage. For example, if a river floods your home after heavy rains your home insurance won’t cover it, as it counts as flood damage. A roof leak caused by heavy rains should be covered, however!

What Storm Damage Isn’t Covered?

The most common things not covered by the HO-3 policy are:

    • Floods
    • Earthquakes
    • Landslides, mudslides, and sinkholes
    • Preventable damage
    • Sewer backup

While they aren’t covered in the main policy, you can add on extra perils, such as flood insurance or earthquake insurance to your policy. Determining what you need can be as simple as figuring out what natural disasters your home is at risk of.

Is a Home Remodel Covered By My Insurance Policy?

If your home has been damaged by something covered by your insurance policy, your insurance company will pay a determined cost to get your home back to how it was. While you can choose to remodel your home after it’s been damaged, the cost of both restoring and remodeling won’t be covered.

homeowners insurance

PURE Insurance

If you’re looking for more coverage, PURE Insurance may be the option for you! PURE offers generous coverage and fair pricing to those who become members. Rapid Restoration is proud to be a preferred contractor for PURE Insurance members!

Want to Learn More About the Insurance Process?

Minnesota property owners face a lot of threats to the safety and security of their property. Fortunately, no matter the threat faced by your property, you have the disaster recovery experts at Rapid Restoration on your side. We offer 24/7 emergency cleanup services so when disaster strikes, contact us today for fast and efficient restoration! We are here to help with any emergency restorations you may have.

Want more details on how to navigate home insurance when working with a restoration company? You can learn more about our insurance process here.

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