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What does your home insurance policy cover, exactly?

What does your home insurance policy cover, exactly?Home insurance is not regulated like auto insurance. In fact, unless you have a mortgage or rental agreement, you are not obligated to even have it.

Policies can differ widely and may not fully protect you. Sometimes you need to pay a bit more to add a rider to the policy for your valuables, or to help protect against different risks.

The best thing to do is shop around. PC® home insurance can help you find the coverage that best suits your needs.

Here are four scenarios that may not be covered under your current home insurance policy.

Leaving for an extended period of time

You may not be covered while you are away from home for an extended period. That’s because an unoccupied home is at greater risk of damage and susceptible to break-ins.

Coverage may only be provided for a certain number of days. If your house will be empty for longer than the minimum you’ll likely be required to have someone visit your home on a regular basis – generally every three to seven days depending on your policy.

Different types of water coverage

Not all water damage is created equal. Basic water coverage helps provide coverage due to damage caused by a burst pipe, for example.

Sewer back-up coverage may or may not be included in your basic policy. This coverage is for damage caused by water coming into your property from a sewer, septic system or sump pump.

Overland flooding, on the other hand, is most likely not included in your basic home insurance policy. This is caused from the sudden accumulation of water from heavy rains, spring run-off, or overflow from lakes and rivers.

Your home’s market value

Home insurance only covers the actual cost to repair or replace your home as it was before the loss. Insurance companies will look at the overall maintenance of your home. You need to keep up with repairs. You are not usually covered if you have cracks in your foundation, loose window casements, or a leaky dishwasher that allow water to seep through.

Insurers will take into account depreciation of your roof and garden shed, and even the condition of the trees in your yard.

Personal property is almost always covered for replacement cost at today’s prices. Actual cash value will only pay today’s value for the item, prorated for age, use and condition.

However, you must actually replace the items and provide receipts. The insurance company won’t just hand you a cheque.

Condominium corporation insurance doesn’t cover your condo
This insurance covers the building structure, such as roof or windows, and common areas. It does not cover the contents of your own condo, or third-party liability if you cause damage to other condo units. You need your own separate policy.

Let’s say your condo corporation insurance has a $25,000 deductible if you cause any damage to the property. You’d want to make sure that liability is included in your own personal policy.

Final thoughts
Go through your policy with a fine-tooth comb. You don’t want to be disappointed if you ever have to make a claim. Know what’s covered and if there are any limitations to that coverage. Don’t assume that insurance will pay for all damages. Update your policy if necessary to help best protect your property. It doesn’t make sense to reduce your coverage in order to save a bit of money.

Work with an insurance broker, such as PC Insurance, who can explain your coverage, help you find what works best for you, and even discuss whether or not to make a claim without impacting your premium.

Robb Engen blogs at Boomer & Echo. Reach him at robbengen@gmail.com.

General information not about PC insurance products is provided for your reference and interest only. The above content is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and is not a substitute for, and should not be construed as the advice of an experienced professional. PC insurance does not guarantee the currency, accuracy, applicability or completeness of this content.

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