Homeowners Insurance Florida – Top Five Policy Exclusions

 Homeowners Insurance Tampa

When it comes to home insurance many people think their policy covers everything. Unfortunately, many find out too late that a loss is not covered until after the fact. This can be a costly mistake.

These are the top 5 exclusions on home insurance policies that people often overlook.

5. Theft or loss of jewelry, firearms, antiques and other items of intrinsic value. This often comes as a big shock when someone calls to report the loss of an expensive diamond ring, only to find out there is usually only $1,000 of coverage for theft loss and zero coverage for accidental misplacement. The key thing to remember here is if you own expensive jewelry ask your agent to schedule the items you cannot afford to lose, or better yet, buy a personal article floater policy, which is a separate policy just for those items you want to insure for loss.

4.  Motor vehicles. Golf carts away from the golf course, segways, scooters and other popular motorized items are not covered for liability under your home insurance policy. The exclusion does not apply in a few circumstances, like using a four wheeler around ones home for hauling trash or yard debris, and those motorized vehicles designed for assisting the handicapped. The best thing to do is get a very inexpensive liability policy for each motorized vehicle you may use off premises. You can get $300-$500k of liability coverage on a four wheeler for less than $100 per year.

3. Building defects.  Say your builder uses cheap materials that end up failing later, or say the builder actually forgot to use certain items in the construction process and you later suffer a loss as a direct result of this defective construction, do not count on your home insurance policy to bail you out. There is an exclusion in your home insurance policy that excludes coverage for any faulty, inadequate or defective items. It is a broad exclusion including defects of planning, zoning, development, surveying, design, renovation materials, maintenance and more. Folks who had Chinese drywall put in there homes found out the hard way that this exclusion meant their homeowners policy did not include coverage to remediate the damage from the defective drywall.  This is why it is so important to hire reputable builders and contractors who will be there to stand behind there products and work.

2. Rising water. The only way to cover your home and property from rising water-even from heavy rain- is to purchase a flood policy. Many times people think of a flooding event as a tidal wave of water that couldn’t possibly happen to them. However, many flooding claims are from rising water due to heavy rains that inundate two or more properties or two or more acres of normally dry land. For between $129-$412 per year, a fema flood policy is the only way to cover your home from rising water.

1. Water damage over time. This is probably the biggest gotcha in the policy. Your home insurance policy will cover you for sudden and accidental water damage. An example would be a pipe breaking or a dishwasher or washing machine that overflows. The problem is far too many people make claims for deferred maintenance like small roof leaks that build over time or small tile cracks in the shower that are never calked. The best thing a homeowner can do is once or twice a year go through and caulk all windows and bath fixtures and pop your head up in the attic with a flashlight and look for small leaks that could roof entire sections of your roof over time.

Understanding what you are not covered for is as important as knowing what you are covered for. If you have a specific coverage question the best thing to do is contact your agent and ask. A little prevention and education will go a long way to keeping your family and property protected.