Your home is likely the biggest investment you will ever make in your life. That is why it is imperative to protect it with a good homeowners insurance policy.
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The idea behind getting homeowners insurance is to protect yourself from catastrophic events like fires. But there is a host of surprising things your home insurance may cover, including many non-catastrophic events that can still get expensive.
Theft of Personal Items
It only makes sense that personal items that are stolen from your house would be covered by your homeowners insurance policy. But, if you have personal items in your car — like your golf clubs — and someone smashes a window and steals them, your homeowners policy likely covers that. Be aware that policy limits may vary based on whether you are parked at home or not, and you may have to pay a deductible first.
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The Dog House
If you’ve got a dog house in your backyard, rest assured that your pet is protected the same way that you are. If a fire were to sweep through your yard and burn down your dog house, your homeowners policy should cover it. Home insurance typically covers any structures that are placed on your property, from a shed to a backyard office to a dog house.
Injuries on Your Property
While most homeowners buy insurance to protect their dwelling, the personal liability clause in many policies also protects you from accidents that may occur. For example, if you have friends over in your backyard and one of them slips and falls, their injuries should be covered by your homeowners policy.
Libel or Slander Suits
The personal liability provision in most homeowners policies extends to verbal damage as well. For example, if you are accused of something slanderous and must defend your good name in court, your homeowners insurance policy should pick up the tab. Even President Bill Clinton reportedly relied on the personal liability portion of his homeowners insurance to pick up the tab in the sexual harassment suit filed against him by Paula Jones.
Property Your Child Takes to College
Homeowners insurance protection often extends to property kept by college students. Your son or daughter’s computer and stereo equipment, for example, is likely covered from theft or damage while they are away at college, although they may have to be under 24 years of age.
Objects Falling From Space
It’s not likely that a meteorite is going to strike your home after a long journey from space, but it does happen. Slightly more common is damage from “blue ice” — frozen sewage falling from airplanes. But rest assured, you need not fear these perils. According to the Insurance Information Institute, standard homeowners policies cover “falling objects,” ranging from satellites and asteroids to meteors and space debris.
It may seem odd, but gravestones are typically classified as personal property and protected by homeowners insurance policies against perils like vandalism and theft. Coverage is often limited, however, to $5,000 or less. You should also note that, according to Progressive, damage to headstones is often caused by cemetery landscaping equipment, in which case the cemetery’s own policy would pick up the tab.
Wild Animal Stampede
Admittedly, it’s not likely a herd of gazelles will jump through your windows and ruin your house. But it’s far more possible for a bear to break into your home and cause serious destruction. The good news is that, in either case, your homeowners insurance policy should cover the damage. Just know that most policies exclude damage from more common pests, such as squirrels, bats, rats, mice and lizards.
Your Wine Collection
This protection comes with a bit of a caveat. While homeowners insurance typically covers consumables like wine to a limited degree, if you have a rare collection of fine wine, you’ll probably want to purchase specialized coverage. A so-called “personal articles floater” can typically bump up wine coverage from the $1,000 to $2,500 range to a collection valued at $5,000 to $50,000. Specialty wine insurance is also available for even more valuable vintages.
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