One thing a lot of people overlook when getting quotes for home insurance policies is coverage for yard items. Different types of yard items are going to need varying ranges of coverage that may or may not be provided by a home insurance company. It is critical to understand what your policy covers, since improper application of said knowledge to various yard items has been the cause of countless denied claims.
What’s Covered by Most Home Insurance Policies
Before we can discuss what isn’t covered by a home insurance policy, we need to have an idea of what is. Typical coverage includes:
- The structure of your home.
- Other structures on your property, including tool sheds and gazebos.
- Your personal belongings, including furniture, clothes, appliances, and electronics. This includes losses that occur outside of your home, including if they’re stolen.
- Trees, plants, and shrubs on your property.
- Liability protection.
- Additional living expenses.
Coverage is less obvious for other items you may have in your yard, such as trampolines, jungle gyms, and swimming pools. Homeowners tend to buy these items without considering the implications on their insurance policies. But be aware that home insurance companies have denied claims or canceled policies based on these items before. For example, trampolines are considered a hazard to home insurance companies and are specifically asked about during the screening process. In some cases, homeowners with trampolines are considered uninsurable. Damage to trampolines and jungle gyms is not typically covered by a standard home insurance policy, even if that damage comes from perils named in the policy. However, the insurance company may provide liability coverage for medical injuries suffered if someone is injured on one of these items, assuming that they are not prohibited on the written policy.
Swimming pools are another matter entirely. Most home insurance policies cover damage to pools caused by fire, smoke, windstorm or hail, lightning, vandalism, and other standard perils. It also provides liability coverage if someone is injured and the cause is related to the swimming pool. However, it will not cover other types of damage, such as cracks in the foundation, which are bound to happen over time. Above ground swimming pools are more likely to be covered in insurance policies, but might require another umbrella policy to cover them specifically.
Sheds and other detached structures are covered by the homeowner’s policy, but usually at a limit of 10% of the limit of the main dwelling, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Outdoor tools and accessories are covered like other personal property, but make sure to keep records of each purchase so you can document replacement cost. Additional coverage can be attained by specifically asking for it. Home insurance policies might have rules about whether they base protection value on replacement or fair market value. Many home insurance companies customize policies to homeowners’ preferences and bill accordingly.
Yard items as a whole are generally covered by home insurance policies. The key to finding out is to read the individual home insurance policy. If coverage is not included, or if it’s inadequate, talk to your provider about adding items through supplementary policies. Homeowners should aggressively inquire of home insurance limitations and exclusions.