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What Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover?

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What I list below is what is generally covered by your homeowner’s insurance and in what categories (and for what reasons) but your particular policy might have exceptions or clauses I don’t list here (since I wouldn’t know). But, in most cases, these things are pretty standard and will likely be the same for you. Either way, don’t treat this as a definitive text on the subject, you need to review your policy because it will all be outlined in your policy document.

If you look at your homeowner’s insurance policy you’ll see several categories and you might wonder what exactly in included within each of these categories. That’s what I’ll try to outline below:


Dwelling (Your House): The dwelling is basically everything that can reasonably be considered part of your house and this includes the house itself, an attached garage or shed, built in appliances, decks, and carpeting. Your dwelling is covered from almost every kind of cause of damage except intentional damage, neglect, wear & tear, collapse, earthquake, landslide/mudslide, floods, water seepage, insects, vermin, rats, power failure off premises, smoke, nuclear reaction and war. This is why you often hear of homeowners getting flood or earthquake insurance is certain areas.

Other Structures: The limits on “Other Structures” is typically 10% of the coverage you have on your dwelling and this includes detached garages, sheds, and decks; driveways, fences, pools, walls, gazebos, etc. I think you get the idea of the difference between your dwelling and your house. Your policy may list these things out explicitly.

Personal Property: Personal property is basically everything inside your house that you’d take with you if you moved. The limits of the coverage is 50% of the coverage you have on your dwelling and you might want to get specific riders for especially pricey items. If you happen to lose personal property as a result of damage caused by a whole list of things (aircraft, glass breakage, explosion, fire, freezing, power surges, smoke, theft, vandalism, vehicles, volcanoes, hail, water, etc.), you’re covered.

Please remember, what I listed above is what is generally covered by your homeowner’s policy but your particular policy might be different.

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3 Responses to “What Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover?”

  1. Matt says:

    Hmm. Seems odd that damage to the house from fire would be covered, but damage from smoke wouldn’t. Sounds to me like a recipe for a long argument (and potentially a court battle) with your insurance carrier if there’s ever a fire.

  2. CK says:

    My parent’s home was damaged by a fire causing major smoke damage and it was covered. Maybe they mean smoke originating from some other place? Like a forest fire? Odd.

  3. jim says:

    Basically it’s all those are catchalls for things that are uncontrollable, like smoke damage from a forest fire.


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