6 Surprising Things Your Homeowners Insurance Actually Covers

published Sep 22, 2018
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(Image credit: Carina Romano)

When buying a house these days, homeowners insurance is typically mandatory–even if you don’t think you’ll ever need it. However, the hefty monthly sum you pay for coverage may be more useful than you realize. “It is important to remember that a homeowners insurance policy provides important coverages beyond just the structure of the house,” says Michal Brower, spokesperson for State Farm Insurance. So, to find out what those additional coverages are, we decided to speak with two insurance experts. Read on for the most surprising things your homeowners insurance covers.

Expensive accessories

If you agree that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, you’ll be pleased to hear that homeowners insurance typically covers damage to jewelry, watches, and precious and semiprecious stones caused by perils outlined in your policy, such as fire, says Joe Dittmar, program manager at Swyfft. (Don’t tell PETA, but furs are covered, too.)

However, should any of these items be stolen, you will only be reimbursed up to a certain amount, depending upon your policy.

(Image credit: Reagen Taylor)

Flatware and related items

You might be surprised to learn that your insurance usually covers flatware and dishware–and not just grandma’s fine silver. According to Dittmar, that includes silverware and silver-plated ware, goldware and gold-plated ware, platinum ware and platinum-plated ware, and pewterware. Examples of such items are flatware, hollowware, tea sets, and trays made of these metals.

These items are covered from damage due to peril in the same way as jewelry. Likewise, the theft coverage depends upon your insurance policy.

New appliances

Coverage of the structure of your home is an obvious benefit of homeowners insurance, but did you know that your policy will typically cover new appliances–even if you install them yourself? It’s true, says Brower: “If a neighbor is helping you install your new ceiling fan in your man cave–and not only does the fan fall and break, but [it] also cracks a window, puts a hole in the wall, and damages your wood floors–you are typically covered for the damage to the fan and the home.”

Cell phones and laptops

Get your phone swiped on your morning commute? Since cell phones and laptops are considered personal property, they might be covered in your insurance policy—even if they’re stolen outside of the home. “All of an insured’s personal property is covered worldwide,” says Dittmar. “Those items would be covered if damaged or lost to a peril insured against (fire, theft, etc.)” Of course, this is all subject to your policy and its deductible (which may be higher than the price of your stolen tech), so make sure you read the fine print before filing a claim.

(Image credit: Lisa Diederich)

Belongings of family living with you

Many homeowners don’t realize that their policy insures relatives living with them in same house, says Dittmar. “So, if your elderly parents move into the spare bedroom, your nephew moves into your basement while attending college, or your recently divorced sister moves into the third floor while getting back on her feet, they (and their personal belongings) are insured by your policy as well.”

He adds one caution, however: “Make sure those limits are sufficient when that happens!”

Evacuation expenses

Considering we’re in the thick of hurricane season, this one is good to know. Another surprising benefit of homeowners insurance is prohibited use coverage, which reimburses a homeowner for expenses incurred while being part of a mandatory evacuation (such as for a tornado, wildfire, or hurricane). She says: “This benefit may cover things like housing, food, clothing, and even pet boarding,” Brower says.