Until it happens, most homeowners think of disasters as something that won’t happen to them. Disasters can be as minor as a tree branch falling and breaking a few windows, or as concentrated as a pinhole roof leak slowly dripping water into a residence—causing mold or other ripple effects. Sadly, too many people who experience disaster on a large or small scale may find the trauma continues when it’s time to file an insurance claim.
Paul K. Improta of Underwriters, Inc. offers the following myths involving typical homeowners coverage that could minimize re-traumatizing already shaken homeowners when it’s time to file a claim.
Myth 1: Wear and Tear Is Covered
Fact: Coverage typically includes damage from fire, weather and theft, not damage due to general wear and tear or neglect. As a policyholder, Improta says it’s up to you to maintain your home, including making routine repairs and protecting your home from pests.
Myth 2: You’re Safe in Case of Flood Damage
Fact: Although some weather-related damage is generally covered, such as from hail, Improta says other natural disasters may not be:
Floods require specific flood insurance.
Earthquakes might be covered, but sometimes they require additional insurance.
Myth 3: All Personal Belongings Are Fully Covered
Fact: Homeowners insurance typically covers furniture, clothing and other personal items, but more valuable items like jewelry and artwork may require an add-on policy. Improta advises homeowners to routinely inventory belongings to determine if policy limits meet their coverage needs.
Myth 4: You Have Protection Against Any Injuries That Happen at Home
Fact: Your policy’s liability coverage protects you if a guest is hurt in your home, but if a family member is injured at home, it’s normally covered by health insurance.
Myth 5: Home Businesses Are Part of the Package
Fact: A home business requires business insurance to cover property damage and liability, Improta says.
Ultimately, homeowners should consult with their insurance carrier or agent to be sure they’re fully covered from disasters large or small.
John Voket is a contributing editor to RISMedia.