5 Things You Might Not Know Your Insurance Covers
By Arthur Murray
When you buy auto or home insurance, you have basic protections in mind. For home insurance, you’re likely most worried about fire, wind and burglary. For auto protection, you’re concerned about causing or being a victim of a wreck.
Your agent likely outlined some other scenarios where you’d receive help from your policies. For example, standard home insurance policies typically protect other structures on your property, your personal possessions, and other situations. Auto policies, depending on how they’re set up, can protect you if you’re the victim of a hit-and-run accident, and more.
But sometimes the “other situations” and the “and more” never get mentioned. Here are some coverages you likely already have but might not be aware of.
First off: little-known home insurance protections.
Have you ever worried about a giant meteor striking the planet? Here’s the good news: Assuming it didn’t lead to a dinosaur-level planetary extinction event, you’d be covered. At least your house would have been, up to the limits of your dwelling coverage – typically set at the amount it would take to rebuild the home from the ground up.
Plus, if the house was left uninhabitable by the meteor, your policy, in most cases, would cover additional living expenses. That could help with hotel, restaurant and other costs while you’re displaced.
Planes and automobiles
Probably trains, too, if that were possible. But yes, if a plane hits your house, you likely can get full coverage from a standard policy. You could also expect coverage for damage to your possessions, and help with temporary lodging.
More likely, of course, is the prospect of a car failing to negotiate a curve and hitting your house. And, yes, you’d have protection (up to your policy limits).
Explosions and riots
You probably don’t walk around worrying that your neighborhood will be overrun by bombs and riots, and the resulting damage to your house. It’s possible, of course, but the chances in most places are slim. But if a riot breaks out in your part of town, it’s nice to know standard coverage could provide protection.
There is, however, one exception and one gray area – it wouldn’t be insurance, otherwise. Acts of war are not covered by home insurance, unfortunately, so if Canada bombs your neighborhood, paying for the damage is all on you. The gray area is terrorism. Is it an act of war? Insurance providers tend to say yes, meaning any damage resulting from it is not covered. But the matter hasn’t been settled once and for all.
Next: auto coverages you might have missed.
Flooding and earthquakes
After years of having it drummed into them, most policyholders know that standard home insurance doesn’t cover flooding. The same is true for earthquakes. For either of those disasters, you’ll need a separate policy. But did you know that auto insurance could cover both of those situations – “could” being the operative word, in this case.
It depends on whether your policy includes comprehensive coverage. Every state but New Hampshire requires liability coverage to help with injuries and property damage from a wreck you cause. And some require other coverages, including uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, which helps if the driver who hits you has insufficient or no coverage.
But comprehensive coverage is not required by state law (though it could be mandated by your lender). Comprehensive coverage can help, up to your policy limits, in case your car is stolen or vandalized, or if it catches fire or suffers other damage that doesn’t result from a collision (other than one with an animal). And it can help in case your car is damaged by flood or earthquake.
One thing, though: You’ll have to pay a deductible before you get help from your policy. Depending on your provider, you could be required to purchase collision coverage (which helps pay for damage to your car for a wreck you cause) if you want comprehensive coverage. Check with your agent.
Remember how home insurance excludes acts of war (and maybe terrorism), but covers explosions? Well, if your policy includes comprehensive coverage, you’ll be protected in case your vehicle is hit by a missile. Again, everything depends on your coverage limits, and you’ll have to pay a deductible, but isn’t it good to know that you’ll be covered for damage from a missile?
- Insuring Your Home Against Fire Damage
- Hurricane Insurance: What Homeowners and Renters Should Know
- Is Forgoing Earthquake Insurance Worth the Gamble?