5 Things Homeowners Insurance Won't Cover That May Surprise You
Last week I wrote a blog post called Homeowners Insurance Basics Every Fort Myers Homebuyer Should Understand. There's no doubt that insurance is a complicated issue, so this for this post I want to review five things that a standard homeowner's policy won't cover. I'm a pretty risk-averse person, so I strongly suggest you work with your insurance broker to make sure you're covered for all of these things! Don't have an insurance broker? Reach out to me and I'll glady send you a list of my trusted insurance partners.
1 - Flooding. When it comes to water damage, as a general rule of thumb, if the water originates inside the house (for example, from a broken pipe) your normal policy will cover it. But if the water originates outside of the house, you won't be covered unless you have a flood insurance policy. Much of Florida is in a flood zone so be sure to do your research; even if you're away from the coast, you are likely in a low-lying area which is where heavy rains love to gather! I have a friend in Atlanta, who is miles from any sort of river and hours away from the coast so he didn't have flood insurance. During a heavy rainstorm, the storm sewers near him became clogged with debris, causing the rainwater to back up into his home and thousands of dollars in damage. His homeowners insurance denied the claim and the sad part is that due to his location, flood insurance would have been very cheap!
2 - Earthquakes. I know, Florida isn't exactly California when it comes to seismographic activity so most people don't consider earthquakes to be a concern here (we also aren't like California in many other ways, thank goodness!). However, we do have the occasional temblor here so it might be worth taking a look at your options.
3 - Mold. First things first, mold LOVES the hot & humid climate of Florida so always keep your AC running, even if you're away from home. Turn it up to 80 degrees when you're gone but never turn your AC off for extended periods of time! Mold might be covered in certain situations, like if it is caused by a burst pipe (see #1) but it won't be covered if it's caused by flooding or neglect such as a slow leaking pipe or if you keep your AC off.
4 - Sewer Backup. Gross but it happens. Defintely check with your insurance broker to make sure this is covered under your policy. Most should be able to add it with a simple rider.
5 - Wear & Tear. Let's jump back to #4 for a second - remember that leaky pipe you negected? Well, your insurance company may neglect you if you neglect to take care of your property. Insurance is designed for emergencies that couldn't be avoided, not to cover neglected or deferred maintenance items that could have been prevented. After all, you're a homeowner now so you need to take care of your home!
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