Homeowners Insurance Exclusions: 13 Things NOT Covered – Policygenius (2024)

While a standard homeowners insurance policy covers your home and personal belongings from most types of damage, there are also several common disasters and liabilities that are not covered. Damage or loss due to flooding, earthquakes, and pest infestations are just a few of the 13 policy exclusions not covered by homeowners insurance.

However, depending on your insurer and policy type, you may be able to add coverage to your home insurance to cover some of the areas not protected under your policy, such as sewer backups or home business liability.

13 insurance exclusions not covered by home insurance

  1. Flooding

  2. Earth movements

  3. Pest infestations

  4. Mold or wet rot

  5. Certain dog breeds

  6. Wear and tear or neglect

  7. Power surges caused by your utility company

  8. Home-based business liability

  9. Local building ordinance or law

  10. Intentional damage

  11. Nuclear hazards

  12. War

  13. Government action

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What does homeowners insurance not cover?

The following perils are found under the exclusions section of every standard homeowners insurance policy. This means if your house or another structure on your property is damaged due to any of the following, your home insurance company won't cover the cost of repairs.

Flooding

Homeowners insurance does not cover water damage caused by natural flooding, rain, sewer line or sump pump backups, or water that seeps up from the ground and damages your home’s foundation.

However, water damage from burst pipes or a defunct water heater would be covered. Likewise, if a house fire or explosion is directly caused by any excluded types of water damage, you would likely be covered for repairs.

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Earth movements

Ground movement refers to damage caused by earthquakes, land shock waves or tremors both before and after volcanic eruptions, landslides, mudslides, mudflow, subsidence, sinkholes, and any other sinking in or shifting of the earth.

This exclusion does not apply to fire or explosion damage caused by an earth movement. It also doesn’t apply to theft loss after an earthquake. So if a burglar waltzes into a cracked section of your house after a quake and takes your stuff, insurance could pay to replace it.

Pest infestations

Homeowners insurance generally doesn’t cover damage caused by animals, including rats, termites, bees, bats, bed bugs, or other infestations, except under an extremely rare set of circ*mstances.

If a termite infestation causes a section of your house to collapse, that would likely be covered under the “collapse” portion of your policy’s additional coverage section. But if you just want to remove an infestation from your house, you’ll likely have to pay for that yourself.

Mold or wet rot

Whether your homeowners insurance covers mold damage is a bit tricky since it all depends on the root cause of the mold problem. In general, mold that's caused by long-term leaking, poor home maintenance, or naturally occurring flooding, then your homeowners insurance likely won't cover it.

However, if the mold is caused by a sudden and unexpected problem —like a leak in your plumbing that crops up out of nowhere — then your insurance company might cover the mold damage if you reach out immediately.

Certain dog breeds

Although homeowners insurance typically covers medical and legal expenses from dog bites, dogs with a history of biting and certain dog breeds may be excluded from your policy’s liability coverage. However, there are several dog friendly insurance companies that will gladly insure your good boy.

Wear and tear or neglect

In homeowners insurance, this refers to your neglect to use any foreseeable means necessary to prevent your property from being damaged. In other words, wear and tear, obvious and preventable leaks, and routine maintenance issues are generally not covered under homeowners insurance.

Take, for example, a kitchen sink pipe that leaks over a course of weeks or months and causes wood rot in your kitchen fixtures and floorboards. In the event of a claim, your insurer would likely be able to cite the neglect exclusion to deny it.

However, if a plumbing malfunction causes a leak and residual mold growth inside your walls, your insurer would likely not be able to prove that neglect led to the loss and you may be covered for the damage.

Power surges caused by your utility company

Your policy won’t cover power surge damage or outages caused by your utility company or anything that originates off of your property. However, if the cause of the power failure takes place on your property, like a short-circuit which causes a fire, that would be covered.

Home-based business liability

Homeowners insurance does not extend personal liability coverage to home businesses, like a home daycare or pet boarding operation. Policies also have limited coverage for business property (around $2,500). Additionally, trees, plants, or shrubs grown for profit would also not be covered. Whether cannabis is covered by your home insurance policy varies greatly depending on the policy, insurance company, and your state of residence.

Local building ordinance or law

This refers to any damage or loss that results from enforcement of a local building ordinance or law required to bring your home up to code. This includes construction, repair, remodeling, renovation, or demolition of a building that hasn’t incurred a covered loss.

Intentional damage

Home insurance does not cover any intentional damage or loss caused by you or any resident family member. That means if your angsty teenager spray paints your house, insurance won’t pay to return the home to its less-cool color.

Same goes for if you or a family member causes intentional damage or injury to someone else. The personal liability section of your policy covers legal and medical expenses due to accidental property damage or injury, but not if you mean to do it.

Nuclear hazards

This exclusion refers to any nuclear reaction, radiation, or radioactive contamination — whether intentional or not. However, fire damage resulting from the nuclear hazard would be covered.

War

Damage caused by any type of war, including declared and undeclared war, civil war, nuclear war, or a fascist insurrection on the nation’s capital, isn’t covered by your home insurance policy

Government action

If a governmental or public authority damages or destroys your house or your belongings, homeowners insurance will not pay to replace it.

Are pools and trampolines home insurance exclusions?

Pools and trampolines aren't always excluded from home insurance coverage — it varies by insurer. Some companies will cover your trampoline against damage and liability claims as long as it has a safety net surrounding it, while other carriers may exclude coverage altogether. And while most insurance companies will cover pools, you'll likely see higher rates due to the increased risk of filing a liability claim.

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What is an insurance exclusion?

Home insurance exclusions are specific types of damage or loss that your homeowners insurance won’t cover. In other words, if your house is damaged or destroyed by something listed in the exclusions section of your policy, your home insurance won't cover the cost of repairs.

There are two main coverage types in homeowners insurance that detail what types of perils you are and aren’t covered against.

Named peril policies

Named peril policies mean you’re only covered against the 16 perils specifically listed in your home insurance policy. If you’re not able to prove your property was damaged by a named peril, you won’t be reimbursed for the damage or loss. Named perils coverage generally applies to the personal property section of your policy.

Open peril policies

Open peril policies mean you’re covered against all causes of loss except the specific exclusions listed in your policy. Under open perils coverage, the onus is on your insurance company to prove the cause of damage or loss is not covered. Open perils coverage generally applies to the dwelling and other structures section of your policy.

Insurance exclusions allow insurers to provide more robust coverage

While insurance exclusions are often viewed negatively, they actually allow insurers to write the broadest coverage possible, protecting your house from basically everything except the specific causes of damage or loss listed on your policy.

4 optional coverages to add to your home insurance policy

While home insurance exclusions may seem set in stone, insurance companies often offer coverage add-ons, or endorsem*nts, that essentially extend your coverage to losses that aren’t normally covered.

For certain exclusions, like intentional loss and neglect, you’ll likely need to stomach the loss — there isn’t an endorsem*nt in the world that will pay for intentional or maintenance-related losses.

But if you’re looking for additional protection for earthquakes or water damage, you may be in luck.

  • Water backup coverage: Sewer line and sump pump backups are generally excluded from standard policies, but water backup coverage basically extends your policy to cover damage caused by sewage backups and overflows. If your sewer line or sump pump backs up and floods your basem*nt, water backup coverage can help cover the cost of cleanup and repairs.

  • Mold damage rider: Mold damage is generally covered under a standard policy if it's caused by a sudden and unexpected accident, like a burst pipe or appliance malfunction. You may also be covered if the mold was caused by a leaking pipe hidden away in your walls or beneath your floors. But you’re typically only covered up to a limited amount — like $1,000. A mold damage rider increases this limit to between $10,000 and $50,000, and also typically covers more causes of mold growth, like wet or dry rot that gradually forms over an extended period of time.

  • Earthquake coverage: This endorsem*nt extends your home insurance coverage to certain types of damage under the “earth movement” exclusion, including earthquakes, tremors, and shock waves. Alternatively, you could also take out a separate earthquake insurance policy to ensure you’re fully protected.

  • Flood insurance: While most providers don’t have the option of adding flood coverage to your homeowners insurance, most offer separate flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Interested in home insurance with more inclusions than exclusions? Compare rates today

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Frequently asked questions

How do I find out what home insurance exclusions apply to my policy?

Homeowners Insurance Exclusions: 13 Things NOT Covered – Policygenius (1)

To find what isn’t covered by homeowners insurance, you’ll need to check the “exclusions” section of your home insurance policy form. This section is located on pages 11 and 12 of the standard HO-3 policy form.

Does homeowners insurance cover structural problems?

Homeowners Insurance Exclusions: 13 Things NOT Covered – Policygenius (2)

If your home’s structure is damaged by a covered peril in your policy, like a fire, windstorm, vandalism, or sudden and accidental water damage, your homeowners insurance will likely cover the loss. But most policies don’t cover foundation or structural issues that happen over time. In fact, many causes of foundation damage fall under the “natural settling, shrinking, and cracking” exclusion.

Are insurance add-ons or endorsem*nts worth the extra cost?

Homeowners Insurance Exclusions: 13 Things NOT Covered – Policygenius (3)

Yes. Homeowners insurance endorsem*nts can often be added to your policy for as little as $25 to $50 per year for the maximum amount of coverage provided. Water backup coverage, service line coverage, and equipment breakdown coverage are all worthy coverage add-ons.

Homeowners Insurance Exclusions: 13 Things NOT Covered – Policygenius (2024)

FAQs

Homeowners Insurance Exclusions: 13 Things NOT Covered – Policygenius? ›

Events typically not covered by standard homeowners insurance include: Floods. Earthquakes, sinkholes and other "earth movement"

What is the most common damage to your home that insurance does not cover? ›

Events typically not covered by standard homeowners insurance include: Floods. Earthquakes, sinkholes and other "earth movement"

What are the common exclusions in a homeowners policy? ›

Bedbugs, termites, mice and other vermin are typically excluded from home insurance for the same reason wear and tear isn't covered. From an insurer's perspective, getting rid of infestations and fixing the damage left behind are simply part of maintaining your home. There may be occasional exceptions.

Which of the following items does homeowners insurance not cover? ›

Homeowners insurance doesn't cover floods, earthquakes, typical wear and tear, and damage due to insufficient maintenance.

What is an example of an exclusion on an insurance policy? ›

“Open peril” events are typically excluded from coverage. Examples of these include: Earth movements (e.g., landslides, earthquakes) Water damage from external sources.

What are the four major exclusions found in homeowners insurance policies pertaining to real property? ›

Important: Read exclusions in your insurance contract.

Earthquake, flood, mold, earth movement, and “wear and tear” are some of the perils that are usually excluded. When an insurer writes your homeowners coverage, the insurer is legally obligated to offer you earthquake coverage for an additional premium.

What are four major exclusions found in homeowners insurance policies pertaining to real property? ›

Common exclusions in even the most comprehensive homeowners policies include: earth movement, such as earthquakes; sinkholes or landslides that damage your home; water damage, such as floods or sewer back-ups that leak through a pipe or seep through the foundation causing damage to your home; damage resulting from ...

What is a common exclusion to property insurance coverage? ›

Other exclusions for property damage could include vermin or insect damage, wear and tear, corrosion, contamination, dampness, rust, mildew, lack of maintenance, errors in design, plan or specification, faulty workmanship or materials, and loss of business due to labor disputes or strikes.

Which of the following risks would not be eligible for coverage under a homeowner policy? ›

Floods and earthquakes are often not covered by a standard homeowners or renters policy. Determine your risk for these types of disasters and ask about available options.

What are standard policy exclusions? ›

Insurance policies have exclusions for several reasons, including: For Catastrophic Risks – A standard insurance policy does not typically cover catastrophic risks, such as wind, or wind driven rain, but sometimes coverage is available through an endorsem*nt, or a separate policy.

Which of the following coverages are not found in all homeowners policies? ›

The typical policy covers your home when it is damaged by many perils (also known as causes of loss) including fires or storms. However, the following causes of loss are usually excluded from coverage under the homeowners policy: Earthquake. Flood.

What is the most important thing in homeowners insurance? ›

Make sure you're covered for the right amount – your home insurance policy should cover the full value of your home in case of damage or destruction. When it comes to home insurance, you want to make sure you're getting the right amount of coverage.

What are the six categories typically covered by homeowners insurance? ›

A standard homeowners insurance policy covers the following:
  • Dwelling Coverage.
  • Other Structures Coverage.
  • Personal Property Coverage.
  • Loss of Use / Additional Living Expenses Coverage.
  • Liability Coverage.
  • Medical Payments to Others Coverage.
May 8, 2024

What is a list of exclusions? ›

The Office of the Inspector General's (OIG) List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (LEIE) provides information to the health care industry, patients and the public regarding individuals and entities currently excluded from participation in Medicare, Medicaid and all other Federal health care programs.

What are two of the most common exclusions used by underwriters? ›

Risky activity: Any death due to risky activities, such as skydiving or rock climbing, are usually counted as an exclusion. Substance abuse: If a policyholder's death is the result of drug or alcohol abuse, it may be excluded from their policy.

What is some exclusions apply? ›

The department store that advertises a big sale often states at the bottom of the ad that "some exclusions apply," meaning the discounts don't apply to all items.

What home repairs do most insurance cover? ›

The most common appliances and systems covered by home repair insurance include clothes washers and dryers, ovens and stovetops, refrigerators, water heaters, air conditioning, sewer, and plumbing lines, and electrical systems.

What disasters are not commonly included in property insurance? ›

Home insurance typically doesn't cover damage from floods, tsunamis, or earthquakes. Flood insurance is a type of property insurance you usually buy separately. It protects you from the cost of damage caused by water-related disasters.

What is an example of accidental damage home insurance? ›

Accidental damage typically includes:
  • Broken glass in windows, doors, conservatories and greenhouses.
  • Unintentional holes in walls, ceilings and floorboards.
  • Damage to toilets, sinks and other bathroom fittings.
  • Damage to kitchen units, including built-in appliances.
  • Damage to drains, pipes and cables.
  • Broken locks or keys.

What are high risk items in home insurance? ›

A high risk item is:

audio visual, photographic or sporting equipment. computers, laptops, tablets and notebooks. jewellery, watches or pearls. pictures, prints or works of art. stamp, coin or other collections.

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