Surprising Things That are Already Included In Your Standard Homeowners Insurance

Understanding what’s included and not included in standard home insurance coverage can have a big impact on your ability to recover from a loss. It also can help you plan financially for the future. We’ve found many homeowners have a hard time understanding what their home insurance policies cover and exclude. A clear and informed understanding of how we preserve and protect what matters most to you is essential and can save you money. And we know insurance jargon and explanations of coverage can be downright confusing. Let's start clearing things up!

Case in point: a recent survey revealed 30% of homeowners believe they are covered for flood damage. Floods are not covered on even the best standard homeowners insurance policies in Virginia. If you live near bodies of water, especially low-lying areas, behind a levee, or downstream from a dam, you may in a flood zone. Even very small streams and low-lying ground that seems to be harmless in dry weather can flood from heavy sustained rainfall. In these instances additional flood insurance is recommended and may even be required through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Hurricane Matthew leaves flooding in eastern parts of Virginia, October 2016

Earthquake damage is another hazard that is not included among standard coverage on many Virginia homeowners policies. Did you know NNINS includes earthquake coverage under our superior tier homeowners policy and it can be approved on our other tiers for a minimal annual premium? Expert seismologists actually recommend you have earthquake insurance if you live in central Virginia after the 5.8 magnitude quake in Louisa in 2011. The effects of that quake were felt from Richmond and as far north as Washington D.C., cracking the National Monument and damaging the National Cathedral.

Miller’s Market in Mineral, Va. after an earthquake struck central Virginia on Aug. 23, 2011. (photo by Norm Shafer for The Washington Post)

The lesson here is it is tremendously important to be aware of certain types of hazards in your area and get additional insurance beyond your standard homeowners policy if needed.

You May Be Surprised to Know What is Included

The good news is there are also some things your homeowners policy includes that you may not know about. A good way to think of your coverage is as a general liability policy protecting you against various miscellaneous accidents and property loss, even away from home. Did you know our homeowner’s policies cover living expenses if your home is uninhabitable after storm damage including hotel and restaurant bills and even spoiled groceries?

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Damage caused by the weight of snow on a property and burst pipes is covered at no extra cost. Also, home insurance provides property coverage to family members in your household. For example, if a homeowner has a student who lives in an on-campus dormitory, most of their personal possessions are covered under their parents’ homeowner’s insurance policy. There’s a little savings towards that college tuition bill!

We’re Here For You

Our independent agents are experts at finding valuable savings on your homeowner’s policy as well as answer any questions you have about what’s covered and not covered. It’s important to note that every insurance policy is different. Coverage limits and deductibles are different on every policy. A good rule of thumb when something happens is to call your insurance agent and ask if your policy covers it before you start spending your own money.

If you haven’t looked over your homeowners coverage recently, it might be time for a review with your independent agent.  We're also always available to answer your questions- no call centers here at NNINS! 

We hope that clears things up a bit. Taking the time to make sure you’re not under insured or in need of protection against hazards unique to your Virginia community is truly the best way to understand your coverage. Then you'll never be surprised by what's not included in your homeowner’s policy and you may be pleasantly surprised by what is.

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