How Far Does Homeowner’s Coverage Extend Beyond My Front Door?

by Erika Torres
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Homeowner’s insurance is usually thought to only cover the valuables in a home, but not as many people consider how the property itself is affected by a policy. Homeowner’s insurance is designed to cover the structure as well as the contents of a home along with the property’s trees, plants, outdoor furniture and additions to the property such as patios and equipment sheds.

Your Yard

Generally speaking, items in your yard are covered by standard homeowner’s insurance policies. Your lawn itself, the equipment used to tend it, the furniture used to enjoy it and storage structures to keep these items in are all protected by the typical home insurance policy. Prized and exotic plants such as competition fruits and vegetables or rare flowers may require professional appraisal as well as a specific rider to cover their value.

However, claims on detached structures such as pool houses and woodsheds are limited to just 10% of the total value of the main dwelling, and so home additions with significantly more value should be insured with a specific insurance rider added to the policy to protect them. When in doubt about what items your homeowner’s insurance is intended to cover, always inquire with your insurer before it’s too late.

Exceptions

While HBF home and contents insurance provides protection for most items on your property, insurance companies treat some items much differently. For instance, a trampoline on your property not only counts as a significant addition to your home but also can render your home uninsurable because of the added liability involved. Damage to play equipment like trampolines and jungle gyms is almost never covered in a standard insurance policy, and may even be prohibited in the terms of your policy.

Swimming pools are another notable grey area in homeowner’s coverage. While many policies will provide relief for damage to a pool as a result of fire, smoke, weather and other common dangers, it will not cover damage such as cracks in the foundation of the home caused by the alterations necessary to install an in-ground pool, and such pools may even be excluded entirely by some insurers. Above ground pools are often looked upon more favorably, but may require a separate addition to the coverage.

Liability insurance is a concern with many policies, particularly for those who often entertain or employ uninsured workers such as babysitters or lawn care specialists. If a person is injured on your property or by an item on your property, you may be liable for their damages. Liability coverage is standard, but the coverage limit can be raised at an additional cost and your level of liability coverage should always reflect the likelihood of having to respond to legal action.

Homeowner’s insurance does safeguard what’s inside your home, but does extend some protection to the things on your general property as well. Be sure to know what items are covered by your specific policy and obtain coverage for anything in your yard that could cause as least as much trouble as it’s worth.

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