When purchasing a homeowners’ policy, we would like to think that we are covered for anything that might go wrong. However, this is just not the case and you do not want to be one of the people to find out a loss is not covered until after it occurs. At Saavedra Goodwin, a Fort Lauderdale insurance claim law firm, we have assisted many clients who were devastated to receive a letter of declination from their insurance carrier after suffering property damage to their home.
This is not just disappointing; it is oftentimes costly. Many things are excluded under a typical homeowners’ insurance policy, but these are the five situations most often overlooked:
- Theft or loss of jewelry, antiques or other items of inherent value, like electronic equipment or firearms. This can be a real shock. Imagine if your wedding rings are stolen and you call to report it to your insurance company, only to learn that there is a $1000 maximum coverage limit for loss by theft. Even worse if you lose your wedding rings and find out there is zero coverage for accidental loss. This is often the case, however, so it is important to purchase a jewelry rider with additional coverage, and be sure to note each item of jewelry you own and its value. You can also purchase what is referred to as a personal article floater policy, which is a separate insurance policy just for personal items you wish to insure.
- Building defects. If your builder uses faulty materials that later fail, or if they did something improper during the building process that resulted in defective construction, you cannot assume your homeowners’ policy will cover the damages you incur. There is an exclusion in homeowner policies that excludes coverage for defective, faulty and inadequate items. If you know anybody who had Chinese drywall used in their home, they learned this lesson the hard way. None of the homeowners’ policies stepped up to provide coverage — instead the carriers all asserted this exclusion to deny coverage for remediating the damage caused by the defective drywall.
- Motorized vehicles. Things like scooters, golf carts, and Segways are not covered under your homeowners’ policy. Most policies cover ‘motor vehicles’ which are not required to be registered for use on public roads or property, and which are used solely to service the insured’s residence or are designed for handicapped assistance. This would mean that lawnmowers and wheelchairs would be covered.
- Water damage that is not sudden. This exclusion really takes people by surprise. Your homeowners’ policy will cover you for water damage that is sudden and accidental, like damage that results from a burst pipe. However, if your claim arises from longer-term, gradual exposure to water over time, it may not be covered. For example, if you have a small leak in a pipe inside your wall that causes water damage and mold, it may not be covered under the most popular insurance form around.
- Rising water. Rising water that causes damage to your home does not just occur as the result of a tidal wave; heavy rains are enough to cause your house to flood. It is important to understand that if you do not buy flood insurance, then you will not be covered for rising water in your home.
This List is Not Exhaustive
There are plenty of other exclusions under your homeowners’ insurance policy that might be important to you. If you have a question regarding making a claim under your homeowners’ policy, call the experienced insurance claim attorneys at Saavedra Goodwin at (954) 767-6333 or use our convenient online contact form.