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Your Home Insurance Policy Exposes You to These 19 Risks

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By Alessia Barranca

Frugal Feature

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Being a responsible homeowner means taking out insurance policies to protect your home. It is common for people to claim their insurance for various mishaps, such as fire damage and leaking pipes. However, there are many surprising things standard home insurance policies need to cover. Here are 19 unexpected exclusions to be aware of:


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Flooding from overflowing rivers or storms is typically excluded from standard policies. Some insurance companies will cover floods, but this will only be possible if you are in a flood zone, and any policy will have high monthly payments. You’ll need a separate flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or private insurers for flood coverage.


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Basic home insurance often excludes earthquakes and other forms of ground movement. Depending on your location, you might need an earthquake add-on or a separate policy, particularly if an earthquake has previously affected your home.


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Mold growth can be a significant issue, especially from undetected leaks or improper ventilation. Most policies exclude mold damage, though some might offer limited coverage with specific requirements. The main reason that mod needs to be covered is that it is up to the homeowner to keep on top of any issues, such as a buildup of dirt and issues, like condensation, that can lead to mold.

Termites and Other Pests

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Home insurance typically does not cover the destruction caused by carpenter ants, termites, and other pests. Home insurance is designed to protect against sudden and accidental events. Termite and pest infestations are gradual processes, considered a maintenance issue rather than an unexpected event.

Normal Wear and Tear

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Insurance does not cover the gradual deterioration of your home due to everyday wear and tear. Insurance companies view wear and tear problems as preventable through regular inspections and preventative measures. They might argue that neglecting these steps allowed deterioration to occur.

Sewer Backups

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Overflowing sewage from clogged drains or municipal sewer issues are often excluded. Insurance companies might view sewer backups as preventable through proper sewer line maintenance. They might argue that neglecting these aspects led to the backup and subsequent damage. If you generally have trouble with your drains, consider sewer line coverage as an add-on if your home is at risk.

Valuable Belongings

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Standard policies have limits on valuables like jewelry, artwork, or electronics. To cover high-value items on our insurance, you must pay a premium, and specific items that exceed a certain amount may need their insurance policy.

Pools and Trampolines

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It’s essential to let your insurance agent know if you have a pool or trampoline. Some insurers might offer limited liability coverage for pools or trampolines, but often with increased premiums and specific safety requirements (e.g., fencing around the pool, safety net for the trampoline).

Cash and Securities

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Home insurance policies are designed to protect your dwelling structure and its contents but have limitations. Cash and securities, such as stocks and bonds, are considered financial assets and are generally not covered by home insurance.

Intentional Damage

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Home insurance excludes damage caused by vandalism or deliberate acts by the homeowner or residents. Home insurance is designed to protect against unforeseen and accidental events, so intentional acts are deliberate acts that fall outside the scope of standard coverage.

Vacant Homes

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Most policies stipulate how long your home can be unoccupied before coverage is limited or suspended. Home insurance is primarily designed to protect dwellings that are actively lived in. This allows insurers to assess the risk based on regular maintenance and presence to identify potential problems early on.

War and Terrorism

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Standard home insurance typically excludes damage caused by acts of war or terrorism. Depending on your location, government programs might offer some protection, but insurers cannot predict such acts. War and terrorism are large-scale events that can cause widespread damage. Insurers would find it difficult to calculate the financial risk associated with such events, making it impractical to include them in standard homeowners’ policies.

Business Activities

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Running a business out of your home might violate your policy or require additional coverage. Business activities can significantly increase your liability exposure. For example, if a client gets injured on your property or a product you sell causes harm your homeowner’s policy might not provide adequate coverage. It is best to take out separate business insurance that covers all eventualities.

Satellite Dishes and Antennas

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Your home insurance policy might not cover damage to or theft of satellite dishes or antennas, so do check the details. Suppose a covered event in your policy, such as a storm or fire, damages your satellite dish or antenna. In that case, your insurance might offer coverage for the replacement cost but at a depreciated item value instead of the total replacement cost.

Pet Damage

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Most insurance policies exclude damage caused by pets, such as chewing, scratching, or other accidents. However, pet owners are responsible for keeping their furry friends from damaging their furniture or phone cables.

Improper Maintenance

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Neglecting your home’s maintenance and allowing preventable damage can void your coverage. It is essential to keep up with renovations and keep minor issues like leaking pipes or drafty windows from growing into more significant problems.

Code Violations

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Your insurers might not cover damage arising from violations of building codes or zoning regulations. As a homeowner, you must maintain your home to meet building codes. Insurance companies might argue that neglecting this upkeep led to the violation or not carrying out complete inspections before you bought the property could be a factor.


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Insurance companies view fungus growth, like mold, as preventable through proper moisture control and ventilation in your home. They might argue that neglecting these aspects allowed the fungus to take root.

Power Outages and Spoiled Food

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Home insurance typically does not cover food spoilage due to power outages, but you can add this feature to your policy. The policy is generally capped, so users can only partially claim the cost of spoiled food.