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Does Homeowners’ Insurance Cover Accidental Damage?

Does Homeowners’ Insurance Cover Accidental Damage?The level of coverage provided by your homeowners’ insurance depends on your specific policy. Generally, however, most insurance policies work the same way, and damage to your home falls under one of several categories. It depends on the circumstances of the accident whether or not your insurance company will compensate you for the loss. Typical home insurance policies protect you against a long list of risks and events, including smoke and water damage – but what happens if you caused that damage yourself?

Whether or not your homeowners’ insurance covers damage depends on how the damage occurred. Let’s take a look at some of the more common accidents and occurrences that may result in an insurance claim, and whether or not your policy will cover them.

DIY projects

Many people like to do home renovations and repairs themselves. However, no matter how handy you might be, do not start any home repair job without first checking your home insurance policy to understand your coverage. A standard homeowners’ policy will generally cover the brick and mortar of your home, as well as fixtures and appliances. However, this may exclude things like carpeting and furniture.

This means that if, while you’re installing a new dishwasher and the tiles on the kitchen floor are damaged, insurance may cover it. However, if while installing that dishwasher, you break all of Grandma’s antique china, you will likely be out of luck. Using a contractor or professional installer can put the responsibility for any accidents or damage back onto the appliance company. Or, if you have an accidental damage add-on to your insurance, you may be covered with this more comprehensive policy.

Flooding

Water and flood damage are always tricky when it comes to insurance. If you live in a flood zone, you’ll likely need additional flood insurance for your home. However, when it comes to accidental water damage, you should go over the specific water damage portion of your homeowners policy. One of the most common instances of water damage to a home is from a malfunctioning appliance, like an overflowing washing machine or dishwasher.

Forbes states that one in every 50 homeowners will file a water damage or freezing claim each year, accounting for a full 24 percent of all homeowners insurance claims, with the average cost of a water damage claim coming in at about $10,900.

Your policy will generally cover accidental water damage, like if your washer malfunctions and damages your floor or ceiling. However, insurance usually does not cover the broken appliance. Further, if the damage was caused by an avoidable circumstance (like a slow leak or frozen pipes from turning off the heat), it is likely your insurer will deny your claim.

Property damage

We have all likely experienced accidental property damage. Maybe your teen was learning to drive and backed into the garage door – a lot. Or you accidentally damaged the roof installing that satellite dish. Regardless of how the damage occurred, get a quote for repair before submitting a claim to the insurance company. Sometimes it’s not worth paying the deductible or having your premium raised.

Another issue to keep in mind are guests visiting your property. Does homeowners’ insurance cover damage from invited visitors? The most important thing to remember here is that if a person causes damage in your home – whether they break a prized possession or accidentally start a kitchen fire – they are one hundred percent liable for that damage, whether it’s replacing the item or providing the monetary equivalent. You may take legal action against them if they refuse.

Additionally, if a guest is injured on your property during any sort of incident, your liability coverage should activate. However, do ensure you document everything regarding the accident, including photos and any police reports.

Fires

House fires are both destructive and deadly. They move fast and can engulf your entire home if not caught immediately. Most standard homeowners’ insurance policies do protect you from fire damage, as well as cover your expenses if you have to relocate while your home is repaired. You should ensure your homeowners policy includes the following types of coverage in case of fire:

  • Dwelling, which covers the structure and materials of your home
  • Personal property, which covers the things inside it (your stuff)
  • Loss of use, which covers the cost of relocating and temporary expenses, like hotel, food, and laundry
  • Personal liability, which covers any damage the fire may have caused to your neighbors’ property

Homeowners’ policies will cover accidental fires, like a grease fire or if someone accidentally knocks over a candle. Your insurance will not cover a fire set intentionally and, if you live in an area prone to wildfires, you may consider adding on extra insurance as these areas are traditionally riskier to insure.

If you have questions about what your homeowners’ insurance does and does not cover, the attorneys at Warhurst Law can help. If your claim is delayed or denied, we will advocate for you. Call us at 251-694-1932 or use our contact form to make an appointment with one of our insurance lawyers. We represent victims of wind, storm, hurricane, and other types of damage across the Southeast including Alabama, the Florida panhandle, and Louisiana.

* Warhurst Law cannot and does not guarantee an outcome to any case.