Creeping Mold, Nuclear War and Pyromaniac Teens

Posted January 14th, 2010
by HomeownersInsurance.org Staff (no comments)

nuclearpowerYou probably know by now that your homeowners insurance doesn’t cover everything. You heard about all of the controversy after Hurricane Katrina, for example, of insurance companies who wouldn’t cover folks that didn’t have hurricane insurance. You’ve read right here about all of the problems that homeowners in Florida have had with Chinese drywall that’s apparently frying all of their electronics and creating a real nightmare. The fact is that homeowners insurance policies have exceptions, and you need to know what yours are.

Here are some of the most common exceptions you’ll find in homeowners insurance policies:

Mold or water damage. The trend right now is for insurers not only to have an exception for flooding, but for any type of water damage. If a pipe bursts, you may just be out of luck. If there’s mold involved that raises the cost of your repairs significantly, too. Over 30 states now let insurers cap the amount of coverage for mold or even exclude it from the policy altogether.

Nuclear accidents, terrorism and war. If you live in a rural town in Iowa, you’re probably not too concerned about an invading army. However, you might be in danger of your home being irradiated by a nuclear power plant. Many of these kinds of disasters, caused by other people, aren’t covered. While nuclear accidents and war have been excluded from the list for a long time, terrorism is a fairly recent addition. Many insurers are now excluding terrorism coverage from homeowners insurance, and many are also banning it from commercial insurance.

Natural disasters. It really depends on the kind of natural disaster you’re looking at. If your home is in the city and destroyed by a wildfire, you are probably covered. If you have a log cabin in the woods that’s blown down during a hurricane, you probably aren’t covered. The more likely a disaster is to occur in your area, the more resistant an insurer will be to covering that disaster.

Intentional damage. If your ex burns your house to the ground, you may be covered. If your teenage son does it, you might not be. When one of the insured persons or a person living in the house intentionally damages it, the damage usually is not covered. This even applies to property damaged by an estranged spouse.

To protect yourself in the event of these kinds of disasters, check your homeowners insurance policy to know for certain what is and what is not excluded.

Photo via Rahm Emanuael

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