Homeowners insurance is one of the most common types of insurance, which is a good thing, considering that it’s one of the vital policies that everyone should have.
Here’s the problem: most people don’t actually understand homeowners insurance.
For example, do you think that homeowners insurance covers flooding? If you answered yes, you’re in for a sorry surprise when your basement is full of water.
However, it does cover several other things, including a few that will probably surprise you. We’ve listed seven surprising things that are part of homeowners insurance coverage.
1. Dog Bites
You might not think that your dog biting someone is a big concern, but your insurance company certainly does. Probably because more than a third of all homeowners insurance claims are related to dog bites, costing nearly $479 million.
Most passive dogs, if properly provoked, will bite, and insurance companies know this. That said, certain dog breeds are considered riskier than others, even if your Doberman is the sweetest dog on the planet and the neighbor’s Chihuahua is out for blood.
2. Aircraft and Spaceship Damage
Turns out, nearly half of all Americans believe E.T. is real. Thankfully, belief in E.T. isn’t a prerequisite to coverage if E.T.’s a bad driver and crashes his spaceship into your front porch.
According to the verbiage of most insurance policies, your standard homeowners insurance policy covers space debris.
It also covers airplane crashes, despite the fact that there’s a one in 11 million chance that a plan will crash. This is often covered by the pilot’s insurance company, but if you have the bad luck of finding an uninsured pilot, the losses section in your policy typically includes aircraft and falling objects.
When you planned a nice, intimate wedding in your backyard, you probably figured your great aunt Miriam was the worst of your worries. Not a torrential downpour or a tornado straight out of The Wizard of Oz.
Your insurance doesn’t cover embarrassing relatives, but it may cover costs lost if the event has to be canceled.
However, this may require a careful review of the fine print, especially if you’re planning on having an open bar. If that’s the case, you may want to add a special events policy and make sure that your liability limit is high enough.
4. Your College Kid’s Dorm Room
Anyone who’s ever raised a teenager knows they can be a special combination of destructive and forgetful.
So when your kid calls you in a panic at 3 AM because their laptop was stolen, you’re probably dreading the bill that comes with replacing it.
Here’s the good news: if your kid still lives at home between semesters, your insurance might still cover their property.
That said, if your kid is taking expensive electronics, musical instruments, or sports gear, you may want to add renter’s insurance. You’ll also want to double-check your deductibles and coverage limits.
5. Spoiled Food
What’s the worst part of a power outage? After the hours spent freezing or sweating in the dark, huddled around candles?
Probably the $100+ worth of groceries going bad in your fridge.
Thankfully, your insurance has your back on this one too. If you have to throw out the entire contents of your fridge or freezer due to a power outage, most basic homeowners insurance policies will cover you for up to $500.
Even better, you don’t have to pay extra for this feature. Most policies include it as standard.
That said, you can purchase additional coverage if you really think you’ll need it, but most of the time you’ll be fine with the standard policy.
6. Lions (and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!)
You love the wild. Just not when the wild decides to go wild on your house.
How about that deer that keeps damaging your fence? Or the raccoons that keep finding new and exciting ways to trash your garage?
Thankfully, your insurance can cover you for a lions and tigers and bears situation. Okay, maybe not quite lions and tigers, but most standard policies will cover damage inflicted on your house by a wild animal, like damaged furniture, shattered windows, or torn siding.
Also, while most people don’t have “stampeding wildebeests straight out of The Lion King” very high on their list of priorities, you’re also covered if a stampeding animal of any variety causes damage to your home.
Keep in mind, though, that boats, pools, and hot tubs typically require their own policies for damage protection.
7. Libel and Defamation Lawsuits
Finally, a more ordinary (but still useful) form of coverage offered by homeowners insurance is protection against libel and defamation lawsuits. Even former president Bill Clinton used a personal liability umbrella policy to cover the cost of defense when he was sued for sexual harassment.
If you’re confused why your homeowners insurance covers the cost of fighting a civil lawsuit, think out the logic.
Most civil cases rack up costs at least in the five-figure range, higher if the case goes to trial. The average homeowner cannot afford this cost out of pocket, especially if they also have a mortgage, a car payment, student loan debt, credit card debt, medical bills, or children.
But if they’re being sued, they can’t afford to not fight the case either.
This puts the homeowner in question at risk of bankruptcy. That’s bad news for the bank because if you can’t pay your loans, they’ll never see their money.
As such, it’s in the interest of insurance companies and banks alike to keep you out of bankruptcy and in your home. This is why many homeowners insurance policies will cover libel and defamation lawsuits, which helps you rest easy.
Homeowners Insurance Coverage Quote
Now that you understand homeowners insurance coverage a little better, it’s time to find a policy that works for you and your family.
That’s where we come in.