What does home insurance cover?
Home insurance is one of the most important things homeowners can have. This kind of insurance protects your home and household members from a number of different accidents and incidents.
Owning a home of one’s own remains a powerful dream for so many people. The purchase of a first home is a memorable milestone along the path of life, and it’s no wonder that people save for years, living fastidiously on home-cooked meals and denying themselves any vacation beyond the occasional long camping weekend, in order to afford a down payment.
So now imagine this: You and your partner have saved up for years, you’ve finally found that perfect little two-bedroom in a cute neighborhood, and the seller has accepted your offer. You’ve moved in, decorated the place exactly like you always wanted, and finally feel ready to settle down. Then: Boom! A pipe in your kitchen bursts after a particularly frigid couple of nights, flooding your kitchen immediately and destroying your new wooden cabinets and ruining your fridge. That disaster could cost you several thousands of dollars in repairs, plus a couple of thousand more if you consider any replacements you’ll need to purchase for the items that were damaged. But if you have home insurance, then those damages will most likely be covered.
That’s the whole point of home insurance: It covers many costs and damages to your home in case the unthinkable does happen. Some insurances will have a deductible, meaning that you’ll have to pay a certain amount until the insurance kicks in. While the areas of coverage vary between different providers and policies, most home insurances cover the following:
Damage to your home
It’s important to read your policy carefully, since some policies may specifically exclude certain types of natural disasters, such as floods. However, home insurance usually covers any structural damage made to your home by the elements, be it fire, water, snow, or wind. So if your porch was damaged by tree branches that fell during a particularly strong storm, then your home insurance would most likely cover the repairs.
Damage to stand-alone structures that are part of your home
If your home has a free-standing shed or garage, it’s not a bad idea to ensure that your policy covers those structures, too. Although damage to the roof of your shed might not be as dramatic as damage to the roof of your house, you’ll still need to repair it—and that repair could get expensive if you’re not insured.
Theft, loss, and damage of personal property
A break-in is everyone’s worst nightmare. The thought of strangers coming into your home, rifling through your belongings, stealing your valuables, and destroying everything in their path as they leave is truly sombering. While it’s no replacement for invaluable family heirlooms or keepsakes, home insurance can help reimburse the cost of the personal property that was stolen or damaged. Personal property can cover anything from jewelry and clothes to electronics and furniture.
Damage to others who visit your home
If someone gets hurt while they’re in your home or on your property, you’re liable for the damages. This means you may have to cover any medical costs that they incurred because of their injury. If you have a dog, for example, and Fido got a little too carried away when playing with your neighbor’s kid and knocked them over, resulting in a nasty cut and some stitches, you’d have to pay for the hospital visit. Thankfully, home insurance usually covers these types of costs.
Accidental damage caused to someone else’s property
We usually think of home insurance as not extending beyond the confines of your property lines, but your policy may also cover you if you accidentally caused damage at someone else’s property. Say you were at a friend’s house, and the two of you decided to cook dinner together. While that sizzling fajita recipe looked easy enough online, you’re no Nigella Lawson and accidentally caused a minor fire in your friend’s kitchen, and now the walls are covered in black soot. Insurance will cover the repair costs, and your friendship is (hopefully) saved. This is also known as civil liability.
Home insurance also extends to everyone living in the household who you’re married to or is related to you, so if your partner is the clumsy one who keeps breaking other people’s property, you can rest assured that they’ll be covered too.
Living expenses if you need to temporarily relocate
Let’s say the damage caused by the burst pipe in your kitchen extended to your living room, and contractors will have to spend a couple of weeks ensuring that everything is back to the way it was. You and your partner might have to temporarily move to a hotel or a rented dwelling. In some cases, home insurance would cover the rental costs.
What’s not covered
As you can see, home insurance covers a wide variety of scenarios that could affect you, your family, and your home. Not every policy will cover the same thing, and you may need to purchase additional coverage for certain types of damages, such as earthquake or flood protection. Home insurance usually does not cover things like war or sewer backups, unless they’re included in flood protection.
Home insurance will also not cover what it calls “predictable events.” This refers to damages that you could have avoided but didn’t, out of negligence. So if you don’t regularly clean your roof gutter and the backup causes damages to your house, then home insurance will typically not cover this.
Every policy is a little bit different, and some will have more coverage than others. It’s important to think about where you live, and what you think you might need. Do you live in an area that’s prone to strong storms or wildfires? Or do you live in a coastal region that could be in danger of flooding? How old is your house? Do you have a dog or small children that could cause damage? All of these things need to be considered when choosing a home insurance policy that works for you.
YouSet can help you choose the best insurance for your home and your needs, all from the comfort of your sofa. Just answer a couple of questions, choose among the policies we’ve selected for you, and purchase it all online, in a couple of clicks. Home insurance has never been so easy.