10 Dumb Things We Do That Would Be Covered by Home Insurance

Yes, home insurance often covers moments of carelessness.

Home may be where your heart is, but sometimes it’s not where your mind is at. Now and again, we all have a momentary lapse in judgment that results in damages to your home. Sometimes it’s simply a run of bad luck. Whatever it is, especially now when we’re home more often than not, the good news is usually home insurance will cover damages when we suffer a brain fart.

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Will Your Home Insurance Cover It?

Unlike auto insurance, there is no such thing as a standard home insurance policy. There are no coverages set in stone that you’re required to have by law. In fact, home insurance is optional. Your mortgage lender, however, may require you to have it to secure a mortgage loan or renew. Fair enough, given it’s their money you’re borrowing.

Even when you’re mortgage-free and you own the home outright, home insurance makes good financial sense. Your home is likely your biggest asset, and in the worst-case scenario (i.e. a total loss like fire), it would be financially devastating to rebuild and replace everything on your own. Fortunately, most of us will never have to rely on our home insurance in this way. But there are other, less catastrophic ways that home insurance can help you out of a bind.

10 Times When Your Home Insurance Will Have Your Back

Mistakes happen, and when they do, you’ll likely have coverage depending on the policy you’ve bought. Insurance companies typically deny coverage when there has been "gross negligence", and while the following may be considered careless, it likely won’t leave you on the hook for the related costs (deductible excluded).

The Oops

  1. Your home is cleaned out by thieves after you leave your house keys hanging in the front door.
  2. A paint can spills over while you’re giving your living room a sprucing up. It ruins your hand-woven wool area rug and expensive leather couch.
  3. Flushable wipes are not really flushable and lead to a sewer back-up during a storm. With optional sewer-back up coverage, you won’t be floating in debt for the repairs.
  4. A DIY pruning job of a large tree on your property goes awry when one of the branches falls on your roof. The resulting hole in your roof needs to be repaired, quickly, before the next summer storm.
  5. While working from home, you try your hand at baking bread and lose track of time while in a meeting. A baking misadventure ensues resulting in a kitchen fire. There’s considerable damage, but thankfully it’s contained to just the one room.
  6. Your dog, while chasing your cat, knocks over your entertainment system causing several thousand dollars in damages to your electronics.
  7. Who doesn’t love a good bubble bath? But when the phone rings and you get to chatting with your friend -- who you haven’t seen in a long time -- your bathtub overflows sending water into the room below.
  8. Nothing says summer like fireworks. When you decide to host your own fireworks show at home for the family, you take all the usual precautions, but one rogue rocket lands on your neighbour’s roof causing a fire.
  9. Your normally friendly dog escapes your backyard enclosure and bites a neighbour’s kid. So long as your insurer knows you have a dog, your liability here to your neighbour would be covered if sued.
  10. Everyone in the family golfs, and it’s convenient to keep all the clubs in the trunk of the car. The problem is the one time you forget to lock the car door. Your vehicle is broken into and everything is stolen – including three sets of golf clubs!

Coverage Will Depend on the Type of Home Insurance You Buy

Your home insurance policy is broken down into two main components: coverage for your property (e.g. the home itself, your contents, and possessions) and liability (e.g. if someone slips and falls on your stairs and they sue you for lost wages). There are varying levels of coverage from comprehensive to the very basic, and the more protection you have, the more you'll pay in premiums.

Four Basic Types of Home Insurance Policies

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) outlines four basic types of home insurance policies, but whichever one you get, it will include coverage for your personal liability.

Comprehensive As the name implies, this policy will cover you for the greatest number of perils. A peril is a risk to your home or your possessions like fire or water damage. A comprehensive home insurance policy covers all risks, except those expressly excluded.
Broad A broad policy covers fewer perils than a comprehensive one but more than the basic (or named perils) policy. This policy provides comprehensive coverage on big value items like your home’s structure. But when it comes to your possessions, coverage is only for those risks (e.g. water damage or theft) named explicitly in the policy.
Basic/Named Perils A basic or named perils policy provides coverage only for perils specifically itemized in your policy wording.
No frills Most homeowners do not buy a no-frills policy as it is very restrictive. This type of policy is for dwellings that are deemed “high risk” because the home doesn’t meet today’s usual standards.

When it comes to your home, it’s essential to understand what coverage you have, what coverage you don’t have, and the policy options available to you. An annual chat with your home insurance provider before you renew is always a good idea. And, since many of us have a little extra time on our hands these days, there’s no reason to put it off. Make sure you, your home, and your finances are protected with the best home insurance policy possible.

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