A standard homeowners policy is there to protect your dream home from the odds that may cause a harm to it. As a home owner you might have the peace of mind buying a home insurance covering all perils, thinking it’ll cover all calamities. But the real story is very different. There are always several exclusions that exist in every home insurance policy. The most common exclusions are some of the dreaded natural disasters that may hit and shatter your home or snatch away your precious shelter. In such a case, you’ll be left without coverage from your insurance policy.

What do you do to safeguard yourself from such a situation?

Read your policy first and know the exclusions. Your next step would be to buy specific insurance policy for the excluded perils, if you think that your house is really in the risk zone. There are several policies that provide coverage for the most dreaded excluded perils such as floods and earthquakes.

Generally excluded perils:

Following are the natural perils that are common in the exclusion list of a standard home insurance policy:

1. Floods.
2. Earthquakes.
3. Earth movement including expansive soils, landslides, subsidence.

Buying the right insurance to cover excluded perils

Depending on your particular need, it would be a wise decision to buy a specific policy that would cover the excluded risk. Though, this doesn’t mean that you would buy special insurance for all the excluded perils. You need to do a research on your geological location and study the risk that is most anticipated to hit you, and buy a specific insurance accordingly.

Following are some of the special insurance policies and reasons for their necessity:

Flood Insurance:

Flood insurance is issued by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which covers all damages that homeowners insurance policy does not cover. The homeowners policy may cover the risks of rain coming in from broken windows or minor water damages, but if your house gets flooded by rising or accumulation of water, it’ll be covered only by flood insurance.

It is important to understand that damage caused by rising water or the overflow of a water body must affect more than one property to be considered as flood damage.

The following are the examples of flood damage:

• The overflowing of a nearby water body, such as a river or lake that washes into your home.
• A heavy rain of flash flood causes a mud slide from a nearby hill that hits your home.
• Water accumulated because of heavy, continuous rainfall that overflows into your house or seeps into your basement.
• The overflow of water that affects the local houses due to drainage problems.

So, consider getting flood insurance to save your home from the danger of getting washed out in a flood. It is also recommended to get flood insurance even if you reside in a low to moderate risk area because 25% of flood claims come from the minimum flood risk areas. Keep in mind that flood insurance comes with a 30 days waiting period. Thus, buying it in the moment of an impending danger would not provide coverage.

Earthquake insurance:

Another dreaded natural disaster that makes all human preventive efforts futile is earthquake. According to the National Earthquake Information Center, thousands of earthquakes occur in US every year. You may not feel the impact of these minor tremors but situation can be very grave if you live in a high-risk area.

Standard homeowners insurance don’t cover earthquake damages, hence the requirement of this special insurance. You can add this as an endorsement to your regular home insurance policy for an extra premium. How much extra premium you have to pay is decided by your residential area’s risk level, soil stability as well as your home type.

The earthquake insurance covers for repairs and replacement of your home i.e. the actual structure and contents. The insurance kicks in after you pay the deductibles. There may be separate deductibles for structures that are not attached to the actual home like sheds, garage and portico. The policy also pays for additional living expenses in the event of an earthquake.

It is important to remember that earthquake insurance does not cover floods, even if it’s triggered by an earthquake. However, earth movements and landslides resulting from earthquakes are covered.

After a major earthquake occurrence in an area, insurance companies may abstain from writing new policies. Earthquake policy sales usually recommences after the threat of aftershocks pass.

Earth movements insurance:

This is to consider all the perils connected to earth movements that are excluded in home insurance policy. These are namely; landslides and mudslides, expansive soils, subsidence.

Landslides occur in all 50 states and depend on the facts such as slope steepness, moisture content in soil and soil strength. Many houses get damaged by landslides every year and are not covered by home insurance.

Expansive soils can cause more damage to houses compared to even floods and hurricanes in a typical year. Expansive soils contain a lot of clay which expands when wet and shrink back when dry. This movement of the soil can cause severe damages to foundations, underground utilities and other structures of your house.

Subsidence can become very damaging above the underground mining areas. The gaps created in the mines collapses causing a lot of damages to the buildings and structures on the land above.

For all these excluded perils, you can get a rider on top of your home insurance policy. These riders can cover your specific needs for an extra amount of premium. Some exclusion like subsidence is covered by government programs for the existing structures over mines, while others have to be covered by the homeowners own interest. Consider the facts on how much danger do you think your home faces and get a suitable insurance to cover it.

Finally, be wise while judging the perils that you and your beloved dwelling place may suffer. Buying a policy unnecessarily will bite your finances, while not considering a grave risk can jeopardize your peaceful life. So, know your risks well, and get yourself armored to face it.

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