What Can I Claim on Homeowners Insurance?

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You can file a homeowners claim for loss due to fire.
You can file a homeowners claim for loss due to fire. (Image: Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Homeowners purchase insurance to protect against disasters. A typical policy insures accidents and the liability of the policyholder. If a loss occurs, a homeowner can file a claim to the insurance company to be compensated for the loss. Not all losses are covered however. Policyholders must review policy provisions to determine what can be claimed on a homeowner’s insurance policy.

Property Damage

You can claim damage to your personal property on a homeowner’s insurance policy. Personal property includes the structure of your home as well as the personal contents within your home. Structures adjacent to your home are also insured by your policy. You can seek compensation for damage caused by certain perils or losses. Your homeowner’s insurance policy covers loss by fire or lightening, wind and hail, explosion, vandalism, falling objects, frozen pipes and electrical malfunction. When you file a claim, your insurance company will investigate the claim and compensate you for the value of your loss.

Personal Liability

You can file a liability claim on your homeowner’s insurance policy. The policy financially protects you if you are sued for negligence or responsible for causing harm to someone else. The policy also protects against property damage caused to another party. The protection extends to household members and pets. For example, if your dog gets out of the yard and bites the neighbor’s child, the liability portion of your policy pays the costs of defending you if the neighbor takes you to court in addition to the medical expenses of the child. Liability coverage only pays third party benefits. If you, your child or your pet cause damage to your own property, you cannot file a claim for the damages.

Additional Living Expenses

If your home is inhabitable due to a covered loss, you can file a claim to pay the expense of living away from home while repairs are being made. Additional living expenses coverage pays the cost of hotel or rental home bills, restaurant meals, laundry and dry cleaning and other expenses you incur while your home is being repaired.

Policy Exclusions

Some losses cannot be claimed on a homeowner’s insurance policy. For example, flood damage is not covered by your policy. If you live in an area vulnerable to flooding, you can purchase a flood policy from a private insurer. Earthquakes are another disaster not covered by a standard homeowner’s policy. In areas such as California that are at risk for earthquake damage, a separate policy must be purchased. With some insurers, an endorsement can be added to the homeowner’s policy for an additional premium. You cannot file a homeowner’s claim for maintenance related issues. If you fail to safeguard your home from issues such as mold or pest infestation, your insurance policy will not cover any damages that result from such issues. Lastly, insurance deductibles have to be met before a claim is processed.

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