Home insurance is a necessary evil – mostly because the average homeowner has no idea what it will and will not cover, or when it is profitable to make a claim and when it costs too much to do so. There are some common misconceptions that most homeowners have about their insurance coverage, which can end up costing them if they aren’t careful. Before you assume something is or is not covered under your homeowner’s policy, it is imperative that you check out the most critical part of the policy: the exclusions page.
Every policy will have inclusions and exclusions, but you can be left vulnerable if you don’t choose your policy carefully or know what they are. In general, these are the most common misconceptions that people have about their Winnipeg home insurance coverage.
The 30-day vacancy rule
If you have a rental property that has been vacant for more than 30 days without anyone renting it, then the insurance company might be able to deny you coverage if you have either water or fire damage. Regardless of whether or not you keep paying your monthly premium, if the house is left vacant without anyone watching over it, you might be denied insurance under your policy.
To ensure that you aren’t left holding the bag if your rental remains vacant and you can’t rent it, you can obtain a vacancy permit to make sure that there is no lapse in coverage. The vacancy coverage typically will also include vandalism or malicious acts. There is a difference between a rental that is left “unoccupied” and one that is left “vacant.” The major difference is whether there is furniture inside or not.
Jewelry that isn’t specified
Don’t assume that your engagement ring is covered if it is stolen or misplaced. You generally have to take out a special rider for expensive jewelry. There will usually be a maximum amount allowed on your policy. If all of your jewelry is lost in a fire and the amount goes over that maximum, then you are out of luck. To ensure that everything you have is covered, it is a good idea to have your jewelry appraised and to take out a little extra insurance to cover it.
If you have rare items that haven’t been appraised in writing, you run the risk of incurring a huge amount of loss. Since rare items are sometimes valuable just for sentimental reasons and other times are valuable in cost, it’s always a good idea to get their replacement cost in writing through having them appraised. If they are extremely valuable, then you might want to look at your policy and decide if you should take out an additional rider to cover their loss.
Exclusions for maintenance
If you don’t update your property and things get destroyed, then the insurance company might have grounds to deny your coverage. Written into many policies is the necessity to keep up maintenance around the house. If you have cracks in your foundation and they lead to water damage, then it might be all your problem if you didn’t address the cracks to begin with.
Sewer backups and natural disasters
There are many things that just “happen” and can’t be helped, and insurance companies won’t cover them because they happen frequently or because they are potentially catastrophic. Make sure you know what is covered and what isn’t so that if you live in certain regions, you have the coverage necessary to pay the cost.
When improvements can hurt you
When you renovate your home, it is imperative that you update your insurance policy for the renovations. You also have to let your homeowner’s insurance company know when you replace materials because they might be excluded or obligate you to take out additional coverage. If you make any major renovations, make sure to alert your company so that you aren’t left holding the bag if something happens.
When it comes to homeowner’s insurance, many homeowners make costly assumptions about what is and what is not covered. To make sure that you have the coverage you need, read through your policy, especially the exclusions portion; take out a rider for the expensive stuff; and always make your insurance company aware when you change things, so that you know that you have enough of the right type of coverage to fully insure you.