What are some common exclusions and/or limitations in homeowner's insurance policies?

Although it can be costly, homeowner’s insurance is necessary for your protection, and even required in some cases. However, homeowner’s insurance policies don’t always cover all damages and/or losses to your home, even in situations where you might honestly assume that you have insurance coverage. Therefore, you should be sure to look out for some common exclusions in your homeowner’s insurance policy, or losses that will not be covered by your insurance policy. 
While some events that cause damages or losses to your home are typically included in your homeowner’s insurance coverage, there are some events that usually are excluded, and others that are simply not insurable. For example, losses to your home caused by war or earthquakes tend not to be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy. The only way to protect yourself against such losses may be to purchase separate insurance policies that cover a particular type of damage to your home, such as flood insurance. 
Floods are one of those events that your typical homeowner’s insurance policy simply will not cover. This type of exclusion applies not only to major flooding, but also to water seepage through cracks in your foundation. The only way to protect against flood damage is to purchase a separate flood insurance policy through a private insurance company, or through the National Flood Insurance Program.  
Other natural events, such as damages to your home caused by frost, landslides, melting snow, and mudslides, also tend to be exclusions in your homeowner’s insurance policy. Likewise, losses resulting from the natural deterioration of your home over time, or from normal wear and tear, are usually excluded from your insurance policy. 
Mold problems are another occurrence that can not only cause major damage to your home (and your health), but which are typically excluded from coverage by your homeowner’s insurance policy. Nonetheless, some mold problems in your home may be covered, if they are the result of an event that is covered by your policy, such as a faulty plumbing system. 
Similarly, damages to your home due to an insect and/or vermin infestation usually constitute an exclusion from your homeowner’s insurance coverage. Like many mold problems, insurance companies tend to consider these items to fall under the category of necessary home maintenance, which is excluded from coverage under your homeowner’s insurance policy. 
Losses that you might suffer as a result of improvements or additions to your home usually qualify as exclusions from your homeowner’s insurance coverage. If, for instance, you hire a contractor to build a room addition to your home, and the workmanship is faulty in some way that causes damages to your home, your homeowner’s insurance policy typically will cover your losses. Essentially, your insurance company will not be held responsible for damages that were caused by a third party with whom you contracted.
Finally, there may be exclusions to the liability provisions of your homeowner’s insurance, as well. While your insurance policy’s liability coverage will apply to injuries that occur to a person while on your property, it normally will not cover injuries that occur to another person in the course of a business-related event, or to one of your relatives. 

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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