Friday, April 21, 2023

Real Estate: Why isn’t it covered?

By Jonathan Priest

As an insurance agent for 20 years, one of the most common questions I get is the title of this article!

A recreational vehicle such as an ATV, side-by-side, or snowmobile, however, should have its own policy to protect against loss. A small boat with a motor may be covered if it’s under a certain value, but that can vary by carrier, and the coverage amount can also vary.

Here is a helpful list of exclusions brought to you by J Priest Insurance and Nerdwallet!

1. Ground movement

Earthquakes, landslides and sinkholes generally aren’t covered under home insurance. Exceptions include Florida and Tennessee, where insurers must offer optional sinkhole protection. Aside from that, you’ll need separate coverage for these disasters, which your insurer can help you find. For example, a "difference in conditions" policy can cover earthquakes, landslides, and other risks, such as mudflows and floods.
2. Floods

Floods, like those from overflowing rivers or torrential rain, are not covered by most home insurance. Flood insurance is widely available through the National Flood Insurance Program in partnership with more than 50 different insurers. It can cover both the physical structure of your home and your possessions. Beyond floods, your home insurance policy likely excludes other types of water damage as well, such as backed-up sewer lines or overflowing sump pumps. You can fill this gap with a water backup endorsement, or add-on, to your policy. However, a standard policy will generally cover burst pipes — for example, if the water pipe behind your washing machine bursts and spews water.
3. Mold

Coverage for mold is complicated because it’s often hard to identify the root cause of a mold problem. For damage to be covered, your insurer must deem the cause of the mold to be sudden, accidental and a problem covered by your policy. This means that, for example, home insurers generally won’t pay to fix mold damage if it’s caused by water associated with a long-term leak or poor home maintenance. However, your policy may cover repairs if the mold stems from a sudden plumbing leak, as long as you take action to fix the problem right away.
4. Wear and tear

Home insurance is meant for sudden or accidental problems, such as storms, burglaries, and fires. It’s not a cure-all for general wear and tear. You’re expected to perform basic maintenance to keep your home from slipping into disrepair. Maintaining your home’s roof, replacing worn-out flooring and tending to slow-leaking pipes are a few ways you can avoid large expenses that your insurance won’t cover.
5. Infestations

Bedbugs, termites, mice, and other vermin are typically excluded from home insurance for the same reason wear and tear isn’t covered. From an insurer’s perspective, getting rid of infestations and fixing the damage left behind are simply part of maintaining your home.

  6. Nuclear hazards

Home insurance doesn’t provide coverage for nuclear accidents. Thankfully, you're unlikely to need it. Nuclear power companies are required to have liability insurance to cover damage if you live within the affected area of a hazard.
7. Government action

Acts of public authorities are not your insurer’s problem. If the government confiscates your belongings, for instance, or condemns your home and takes over the land, your policy won’t cover the cost to repair or replace your property. The only exception might be if governmental action were taken to prevent the spread of a fire that might otherwise affect your home.
8. Dangerous or aggressive dogs

Insurance companies spent $882 million paying claims for dog bites and other dog-related injuries in 2021, with an average claim amount of about $49,000. Because of these high costs, insurers may not cover certain aggressive or dangerous dogs. Having one could even prevent you from getting approved for a policy. Some companies refuse to cover breeds that are known for inflicting severe injuries, such as pit bulls, Rottweilers, and wolf hybrids. Other insurers, such as State Farm, won’t deny coverage based on breed alone but instead will look at an individual dog’s history of aggression. If you own a potentially dangerous dog, you may get leeway from your insurer by improving your pet’s behavior through training and socialization. <

This article was brought to you courtesy of Farmers Insurance agent, Jonathan Priest, with an office at 57 Tandberg Trail, Suite 7, Windham. Call him at 207-893-8184 or send him an email at

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