When you have gone through a natural disaster like a hurricane or flood, you depend on your insurance company to pay for repairs to your home, as well as other covered perils like loss of use. What you may not be counting on are exclusions in your insurance policy. If you have never read through your policy, those exclusions may come as a shock. Exclusions in homeowners insurance policies are common, but it is rare that your agent will point out the exclusions to you.
As an example, losses to your home caused by war are usually not covered under your homeowner’s policy. Of course, it would be extremely rare that your home would be damaged or destroyed by war, however, your home could be damaged by rioters. In this situation, your insurance company might try to exclude the damage under the policy’s exclusion for “war.” Earthquakes are also usually exclusions in homeowner’s insurance. If you wanted to protect yourself against such losses, you would have to purchase separate insurance policies.
In Louisiana, where hurricanes are far from rare, homeowners may be surprised and dismayed to find out that flooding is generally excluded in homeowner’s policies. Since hurricanes are often accompanied by flooding, it seems that flooding would be covered, but homeowners must purchase a separate flood insurance policy if they want flooding to be covered.
If your insurance company is refusing to pay your claim because they say the cause of the damage is an exclusion, it can be a frustrating time. If you have read through your policy and believe the damage is covered, it could be beneficial to speak to a knowledgeable attorney from Gulf Coast Insurance Attorneys. We can help you determine whether the damage is an exclusion, and if it is not, we will work tirelessly to get your insurance company to pay you what they owe.
What are Some Common Exclusions in Homeowners Insurance?
There are a number of natural events that are not covered under many homeowner’s policies. These events include:
- Damage to your home caused by frost
- Landslide damage to your home and property
- Damage caused by melting snow
- Flood damage
Losses that are the result of the natural deterioration of your home over time (known as normal wear and tear) are also common exclusions in your homeowner’s insurance policy. Mold problems can cause major damage to your home, not to mention your health. Even though mold can be a by-product of a covered peril, like flooding, it may or may not be excluded in your policy. In some cases, if mold is the result of a faulty plumbing system (that is covered), then the mold remediation may also be covered.
Insect, pest, or vermin infestations in a home are virtually always an exclusion from your homeowner’s insurance coverage. Insurers consider these items to be “necessary home maintenance,” which is not covered under your policy. If a contractor does a shoddy job building a room onto your house, and that shoddy workmanship causes damage to your home in some way, your insurance company may or may not consider that an exclusion.
Wind damage can be tricky. If you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes, wind damage is more likely to be covered in your homeowner’s policy, although it may have a higher deductible. However, if you live in an area that seldom has high winds, then wind damage may be considered an exclusion.
Earth movement, including earthquakes, sinkholes, mudslides, and landslides, are generally excluded. Those that live in an earthquake-prone area should check their homeowner’s policy carefully, purchasing extra information if necessary. Other items that are typically excluded in a homeowner’s policy include:
- Eminent domain losses are usually not covered under homeowner’s insurance policies
- Losses associated with a power failure are generally excluded
- Intentional destruction of property is rarely a covered peril
- Damage due to zoning changes is virtually always an exclusion
- Faulty workmanship is usually an exclusion in a homeowner’s policy
Why Are There So Many Exclusions in Homeowners Insurance Policies?
Insurers use exclusions to their benefit for many reasons. One reason could be that the excluded peril would be more appropriately insured through additional coverage (like a flood policy). The insurer may feel homeowner’s insurance is not an appropriate vehicle for the transfer of a specific risk. Finally, the specific peril may present an unacceptable hazard to the insurer, i.e., such as exclusions for nuclear contamination.
Gulf Coast Insurance Attorneys, is Ready to Help You with Your Homeowners Claim
At Gulf Coast Insurance Attorneys, we are solving problems and making things right. We really care about you, your family, and your future. Because we care, we will always go the extra mile to ensure you are paid what your claim is worth. We will never allow an insurance company to take advantage of you and will aggressively work to ensure you receive the full amount of your claim in a timely manner. Do not try to handle your insurance issues on your own—contact Gulf Coast Insurance Attorneys today.