13 Homeowners Insurance Exclusions You Should Know – InvestingFuse

If you’re in the process of purchasing a home you will have to purchase a home insurance policy. As a homeowner, it’s important to know what your home insurance policy covers and what it doesn’t. In this post, we will take a look at areas not covered by most homeowners insurance policies.

We will also explore how to get additional coverage for things you may need insurance for as a homeowner.


  • A homeowners insurance policy covers damage to the interior and exterior of a home, theft or loss of personal property, and injury or harm to others
  • Your homeowner’s insurance property doesn’t cover floods, earthquake and water damage, pets, mold, damage from remodeling, pipe replacement, and plumbing, or any preventative maintenance
  • If you want some of the exclusion above covered, you will have to purchase an additional “insurance rider” which will cost you an additional premium

What Homeowners Insurance Doesn’t Cover

homeowners insurance exclusions
homeowners insurance exclusions

Just as important as knowing what your home insurance policy covers, it’s equally important to know your home insurance exclusions. Homeowners exclusions are things that are not covered by standard home insurance policies. Below are areas not protected by most homeowners insurance policies:


Floods are one of the most common exclusions on a homeowners policy. Water damage to your home caused by the following is not covered by your home insurance:

  • Rain
  • Natural flooding
  • Sewer line or sump pump backups
  • Water that seeps up from the ground and causes damage to your foundation

Water damage from burst or damaged pipes is however covered by your home insurance policy. As a homeowner, you should know if your home falls in a flood zone. Most lenders who give you a mortgage and see that you’re in a flood zone will require you to purchase flood insurance before they approve your mortgage. To purchase coverage for flood damage, you will have to purchase a separate flood insurance policy in addition to your main home insurance policy.

You can check and see if your property falls within a flood zone through FEMA.gov

Ground Movement

Damage caused by ground movement is a one of the most common homeowners insurance exclusions. Some different types of ground movement include:

  • Earthquake
  • Landslides
  • Mudflows
  • Land shocks and tremors
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Sinkholes
  • Subsidence

It’s important to note that the ground movement exclusion does not apply to fire or explosions caused as a result of ground movement. This exclusion also expands to theft loss following an earthquake. So, if someone enters your home from a damaged portion of your home following an earthquake and steals your personal property, your insurance will cover it.


As a homeowner, you will have to make some upgrades or perform maintenance on your home. This can include repairing or replacing appliances, plumbing, electrical, deck, or others. This is considered home maintenance and should be obvious that it won’t be covered by your home insurance.

As such it’s important to take care of your home and make repairs as they come up. Performing maintenance on your home will help you avoid large problems down the road.

If you’re concerned about replacement costs for appliances, you can purchase a home warranty that will replace the full cost of your appliances like your stove, dishwasher, furnace, water heater, and refrigerator.


Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover damages caused by infestations, except under certain qualifying circumstances. Damage from infestations can include things such as:

  • Damage caused by animals
  • Rodents
  • Insects
  • Termites

For example, let’s assume that your house was the victim of a termite infestation. If the infestation caused a portion of your house to collapse, this damage would actually be covered under a coverage known as the “collapse” clause in your policy. However, if you discovered an infestation and want it cleaned up and taken care of, your homeowner’s insurance would not cover that.

Pipe Replacement or Plumbing

Water damage from a burst or broken pipe is generally covered under most homeowners’ insurance policies. However, it’s worth noting that not every situation will cover a broken pipe or plumbing issue.

If your pipes or plumbing system was damaged due to your neglect and lack of maintenance, most homeowners insurance companies will not cover the damages. The insurance company will send out an adjuster to access the damage and determine whether or not it was caused by the homeowner’s own negligence. Some of the common pipe and plumbing situations that would be excluded include:

  • Pipes with no insulation
  • Frozen pipes
  • Leaking pipe for a prolonged period of time
  • Gradual damage that could have been prevented

The scenarios above are considered negligence and could have been taken care of with some general maintenance or inspection when you purchase the home.

Intentional Loss

Homeowners insurance does not cover any intentional damage that was caused by you or a family member. So if one of your younger children causes direct damage to your home due to misbehaving, your homeowner’s insurance will not cover the damage.

The same case goes for if you or someone else causes intentional injury. Since intentional injury is not considered “accidental” it would not be covered under your accidental property damage or injury clause in your policy. However, if someone sustains injury due to an accident your insurance would cover it.


Most people consider pets as part of their family. However, from an insurance company’s perspective, they are viewed as a form of liability. If you happen to have an aggressive pet or a breed that is deemed aggressive they need to be added to your insurance policy. A dog bite or attack would not be covered by your insurance provider if your pet isn’t on the insurance policy.

As a safety measure, it’s worth adding your pet to your insurance policy to protect against the risk of a dog bite. Depending on your pet, their behavior can change over time. As such it’s recommended to add them to your insurance policy to mitigate the risk of damage if they ever happen to bite someone. Below are different dog breeds that may be deemed risky or uninsurable by your insurance provider.

  • Pitbull
  • German Shepard
  • Staffordshire Terrier
  • Rottweiler
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Chow Chows
  • Mastiffs

If you have one of these dog breeds or plan to in the future, it’s recommended you explore an insurance provider who will be able to offer coverage.


Mold is another common homeowner insurance exclusion. The deciding factor when it comes to mold is whether or not the insurance company considers the mold is due to the homeowner’s negligence. Mold is serious and carries additional risk for insurance companies as it can cause health issues to you and your family.

In certain cases, your homeowner’s insurance may cover mold if it was caused by accident and not due to negligence. Some of these instances include things like:

  • Result of a burst pipe
  • Mold that was caused as a result of a flood ( would be covered by your flood insurance )
  • Mold that was caused due to ground movement

These circumstances will depend on whether or not you took the necessary preventative measures to stop mold in the first place. They will also depend on whether or not you have additional flood insurance or earthquake insurance.

Home Business

If you happen to run your business from home, you will need separate business insurance to cover your products, office space, equipment, and more. Most standard homeowners insurance policies may include coverage up to $3,000 for at-home work equipment (things like computers, printers, monitors, etc.)

If you have inventory in your home or a detached garage or space, you will need business insurance to protect it. If you have customers that visit your business, you will need additional liability coverage if a customer gets hurt in your place of business.

Damage From Home Remodeling

In today’s world of DIY’ers, it’s important to understand that any upgrades or home remodeling you do yourself that results in damage to your home will not be covered by your home insurance.

If you happen to be getting remodeling work done through a contractor, it’s important to check and make sure that they have the necessary insurance. This will usually be in the form of an indemnity bond or builders insurance. Any damage that they may cause during the remodeling process will not be covered by your insurance, but theirs.

Do not be afraid to ask contractors for proof of insurance before deciding to hire them. It is extremely important to know the person you a hiring has insurance. This will serve as a safety measure to ensure that your house is remodeled. If any damages occur, their insurance will cover it, not yours.


Damaged caused by war, whether declared or undeclared, is excluded from homeowners insurance. Damage from wars or terrorist attacks can cause massive losses for insurance companies and as such are excluded from all standard homeowners insurance policies.

Government Action

The government action exclusion relates to any damage caused to your home by a government or public authority. For example, if police officers break down the door to your home to serve a warrant for your arrest, your insurance will not cover the cost of the broken door.

Nuclear Hazard

The nuclear hazard exclusion applies to radiation, nuclear reaction or radioactive contamination. This exclusion applies even if the cause of the nuclear hazard was accidental. It’s worth pointing out that if a fire was the result of nuclear exposure, it would be covered under your insurance.

A good way to think about some of these exclusions is in the context of causation of coverage. If an exclusion directly led to damage that is covered by your homeowner’s insurance, in most cases it should be covered.

Being aware of these homeowners insurance exclusions will help you be better prepared if an unforeseen event or accident occurs at or around your home.

What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover

Traditional homeowners insurance provides financial protection for your home and personal possessions against damage or theft. Homeowners insurance may also cover costs against accidental damage of another person’s property or if someone is injured in your home. Home insurance typically helps to cover:

  • Your physical dwelling
  • Personal property
  • Additional structures on your property
  • Injuries or damages to someone else’s property

Homeowners insurance also helps to cover against natural disasters such as:

  • Damage caused by fire
  • Windstorms
  • Lightning strikes
  • Hail

As a homeowner, it’s very important to be aware of what your home insurance policy covers so you are well protected against unforeseen circumstances. You can purchase additional insurance to help you get protection for things that aren’t traditionally covered by a standard home insurance policy.

Physical Dwelling Protection – Exterior and Interior


If there is ever damage to your property due to fire, lightning, theft, vandalism, or other covered disasters stated in your homeowner’s insurance policy, your insurance company will compensate you for the replacement cost of your home or bring it back to the same condition before the damage.

If you have a detached garage, shed, or other structures on your property they will have to be covered separately.


Things inside your home such as clothing, appliances, furniture, and other belongings are covered if they’re damaged or destroyed in a natural disaster outlined in your policy. It’s also possible to get “off-premises” insurance coverage. Off premise covers valuable items that your insurance would pay for no matter where you lost them. This would include things like expensive jewelry such as weddings rings which tend to be the most common.

Personal Liability or Injury – Liability Coverage

This type of coverage protects you from getting sued by people who may injure themselves inside or around your property. For example, if a neighbor comes over to your yard and gets bitten by your dog, your insurance company will pay for the neighbor’s medical expenses.

Additionally, if someone happens to walk up your stairs, slips and hurts themselves and sues you for pain and suffering, your insurance company will pay. This is why it’s so important to review your liability coverage and see how much coverage you have. Most personal liability coverage policies have a minimum of at least $100,000 in coverage. However, it’s recommended that you get at least up to $300,000 just to be on the safe side.

If you want additional personal liability coverage outside of your insurance limits, you can purchase an umbrella policy.

Coverage Limits and Deductibles 

Once you start shopping for home insurance, you will notice that each coverage in your insurance policy is subject to a coverage limit. A coverage limit represents the maximum amount that your insurance policy would pay in the event of a covered loss.

Your coverage limits can be increased depending on your needs and things such as:

  • The value of your home
  • Value of your personal property
  • Estimated replacement cost of your home

If a covered loss does occur, you will first have to meet your deductible before your insurance company pays for the loss. Your policy premium will vary based on many different factors. Some of these include – the size and value of your home, amount of coverage you want, deductible amount, personal property limits, and much more.


As you can see, there are many homeowners insurance exclusions that you may not have been familiar with. Knowing how some of these insurance exclusions can impact you is important when it comes to being a responsible homeowner. If you want clarity on your insurance policy and what it covers, it’s recommended that you speak with a licensed home insurance agent.