10 surprising things that are covered by home insurance
Your home insurance policy is designed to protect you and your property in all kinds of emergencies, from fires and floods to theft and vandalism — but you might be surprised to learn that these 10 things are covered in most standard home insurance policies:
- Your stuff — even when it’s not at home. Whether you’re trekking across Europe and someone steals your suitcase or a thief breaks into your car and makes off with your gym bag and brand new hockey gear, your home insurance policy usually covers your stuff when it’s temporarily away from your home (even if it’s in your car).
- Your kids’ stuff when they’re away at school. Some home insurance policies are designed to protect students’ belongings when they’re living away from home while attending college or university. Before you move your child away to school, review your insurance policy or talk to your group’s broker to find out if your coverage will extend to your kids — and if it doesn’t, consider getting them their own tenant insurance policy to make sure they have the protection they need.
- Your parents’ stuff when they’re living in a nursing home or assisted living facility. If your mom or dad lives in a long-term care facility (like a retirement home or a nursing home) and is dependent on you for support, their belongings are covered by your home insurance policy.
- Your garden shed or detached garage (and the stuff inside it). Home insurance policies include coverage for “detached private structures” like sheds and garages, usually as a percentage of your policy’s total building limit. For example, if your policy’s total limit for building coverage is $300,000 and your limit for detached private structures is 10% of that, then the total limit for all of your detached structures is $30,000.
- Outdoor trees, lawns, shrubs, and plants on your property. These living landscaping elements are generally covered for some types of damage or theft, up to a certain percentage of your policy’s total building limit.
- Identity theft. Many home insurance and tenant insurance policies include coverage for some of the expenses that tend to follow identity theft, like legal fees, the cost of sending certified mail, and lost wages for days you had to skip out on work to deal with the issue.
- Rewards for tips that lead to arrests. Your insurance policy may include coverage for rewards for people who provide information that helps lead to the arrest or conviction of someone who has broken into your home, stolen your stuff, or caused damage to your property (by setting a fire, for example).
- Liability coverage for volunteering. Your liability coverage is extended during your efforts as a volunteer — so you’ll be protected if you accidentally break something or injure another volunteer while you’re serving soup at your local shelter.
- Liability coverage for your kids. Your liability coverage extends to your children, meaning you won’t be on the hook financially if your kid throws a baseball and accidentally breaks your neighbour’s window.
- Additional living expenses. Home insurance policies include Additional Living Expenses coverage to help with out-of-pocket expenses like food, alternate living arrangements, and even loss of rental property income when you’re forced to leave home because of an insured event or government-ordered evacuation.
While these 10 coverages are included in most standard home and tenant insurance policies, every policy and insurance company is unique. To find out what specific coverages are included in your own policy, you’ll need to review your policy documents or get in touch with your group’s licensed insurance broker.
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