The Home Insurance market started in the 50’s. For years it was common for companies to add beneficial perks in an effort to entice clients to purchase from them. Around the 70’s the Insurance Services Office (ISO) was established to standardize policy forms and protect consumers from unanticipated policy exclusions. ISO standards were a minimum, carriers were encouraged to provide clients the minimum or better coverage. As times changed so have policies and deviations from those old ISO standards are common. So what is missing from your home policy?
Dog Bite Liability
First, on the list: dog bite liability. A dog bite was commonly covered on all policies, now dog bite exclusions are the norm. A Dog bite is STRICTLY interpreted by the law, meaning that almost always the dog owner will be held liable. Dog bite claims on average run approximately 24k per incident. What you can do is speak to your agent about adding back coverage. If you cannot add coverage back you may be able to purchase a separate policy for a dog bite.
Second exclusion relates to Trampolines, Diving Boards and Slides. Trampolines, diving boards, and slides fall under the “Attractive Nuisance Doctrine” meaning they are items which can lure children to trespass on your property. An important thing to note about this doctrine is that you are responsible for a child’s injuries regardless of whether they were invited on your property or not. Insurance carriers exclude liability and in many instances will not insure a home that has any of these items. There are no rider and coverage cannot be purchased separately for any of these items.
Finally, water damage exclusions and limitations are becoming more popular on most policy forms. With the increased incidents and rising cost of water damage claims, most carriers have included water damage exclusions. Although this exclusion is more common on homes over 30 years of age we are now seeing carriers add it to newer homes. Water damage is defined as any sudden or accidental discharge of water from plumbing or appliances. Also included is water which penetrates through the roof or exterior walls. Fortunately, this coverage can be purchased back in part or in whole. Make sure you speak to your agent about your water limitations.
Many exclusions and limitations exist in your Home Insurance, having a professional agent to explain coverage is your best safeguard against exposure.