You buy a policy for homeowner’s insurance hoping you’ll never have to use it. Your primary focus is meeting the obligation for a mortgage, so low cost is your top priority. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, something happens and you’re forced to file a claim. It’s only then that you realize more than price matters as you discover the concept of exclusions in a homeowner’s insurance policy.

What are Exclusions in Homeowner’s Insurance?

Exclusions are events or situations that can cause damage or require repair to your home which aren’t covered by a basic homeowner’s policy. Now, this doesn’t mean your insurance company won’t cover them at all, but they may be listed as add-ons, allowing you to have coverage but at an additional cost.

The most advanced insurance policy won’t cover you for earthquakes, sinkholes, landslides or other events termed as earth movement. Water damage often isn’t covered either, whether it’s caused by flooding or sewer backing up. War and nuclear hazards are part of the exclusions along with action taken by the government, such as seizure. Power failure and neglect by the homeowner which results in damage won’t be covered either. Loss to your property which is the result of incorrect zoning or poor repair jobs and faulty construction won’t be covered either.

While this special policy doesn’t cover a lot of items, it’s often the most popular choice because it’s more thorough. Known as an HO-3 policy, it protects you from most events.

Getting Only the Basics

If price is a concern, you most likely only have an HO-2 policy. This is the broad form coverage which protects you from 16 events or “perils” as they are termed. They include the following:

  • Damage from fire or lightning
  • Damage from hail or a wind storm
  • Explosion
  • Damage from a riot
  • Damage from an aircraft
  • Damage from vehicles
  • Smoke damage
  • Damage or destruction from vandalism
  • Theft
  • Volcanoes
  • Falling objects
  • Damage from the weight of ice or snow
  • Damage from water or steam leaking out of plumbing, heating or air conditioning components or from an automatic fire sprinkler system
  • Damage from a water heating or HVAC system that tears apart or cracks
  • Damage from frozen pipes, heating or air conditioning systems
  • Damage from a surge in electricity
  • This policy provides basic coverage, which will protect you in most cases. However, the key is how a claim is defined whether it meets the requirements to be labeled under one of these situations.

    Unusual Circumstances

    Defining the terms can be tricky. Some are obvious, such as if a vehicle drives into your home. This would be covered under damage caused by vehicles. But did you know that you’re also covered if a skunk gets into your home and sprays or a raccoon damages your siding? These actions are covered by damage caused from vandalism.

    If you’re unsure whether specific damage is covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy, contact your agent to find out. You never want to fail to file a claim because you assume it isn’t part of your coverage. Just make sure you get the type of policy you need from the start or upgrade for peace of mind.