7 freaky home threats: Are you covered?

3. Volcanoes

Surprisingly, many homeowner policies actually do cover damage from volcanic eruptions. (Likewise, if you have comprehensive auto coverage and your car gets damaged from a volcanic eruption, you may be covered.) This coverage is usually limited, however, to damage caused by the material which comes out of the volcano such as lava and ash. Damage caused by volcanic ground tremors usually isn't covered, unless you have an earthquake policy. In Hawaii, there's a state volcano insurance program that covers homeowners who live in the highest-risk areas.

4. Meteors, comets and space debris

If the thought of your home being leveled by a meteor or wayward space station keeps you awake at night, you'll be relieved (and maybe a bit surprised) to learn you'll probably be covered. Wilson says it's rare for policies to specifically exclude this type of damage; it's generally covered under the "falling objects" heading.

5. Stampeding animals

"Most homeowners policies cover damage to the dwelling caused by animals you don't own or keep," Wilson says. Keep in mind; some policies distinguish between "domestic" animals and wild animals. So while you're OK if a herd of stampeding wildebeests charges your bi-level, you might have a problem if, say, an abnormally aggressive pack of kittens somehow destroys your home. While we're on the subject of animals, keep in mind that owning certain types of pets might make it tougher for you to get coverage in the first place. "Increasingly, insurance companies are shying away from insuring households with dogs, or at least certain breeds of dogs because of the liability exposure," Wilson says.

6. Landslides

"Most homeowners policies, even if endorsed with earthquake coverage, won't cover landslides." says Wilson. "If you have that exposure, it is most commonly provided by a special 'DIC' policy known as 'differences in conditions' coverage."

7. Sinkhole collapse

This may or may not be covered, depending upon whether your insurance company lumps it in with the general category of "earth movement," so check with your agent about this risk.

A few more ...

Wilson provides a few more interesting examples of claims which have been covered by open perils policies:

  • Windstorm damage to watercraft not inside fully enclosed building (this is a common source of claims involving boats at marinas).
  • Waterbed bursts.
  • Aquarium breaks.
  • Skunk discharges inside the home.
  • Murder in house, significant damage from bodily fluids.



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