Homeowners Insurance

Are You Insured? 4 Unlikely Events and Whether Your Home Insurance Covers Them

While not all our fears are proportional to actual risks, it can still be comforting to know your home insurance will cover some of the unlikely and potentially catastrophic events that keep us up at night.

It’s rational to have fears, and fears can even help to push us to take action and mitigate our risks. Fears are actually among the reasons we buy home insurance, since having coverage in place can reduce the fear your family will be left without financial protection and a place to live even in the event of a fire or other incident.

While not all our fears are proportional to actual risks--you’re still more likely to die in a vending machine accident than a shark attack, for example--it can still be comforting to know our insurance will cover some of the unlikely and potentially catastrophic events that keep us up at night.

Meteors

While thousands of meteorites fall to Earth every year, the majority are relatively small and light, and so do little substantive damage; an even smaller proportion actually hit people or their possessions. In fact, your likelihood of dying in a meteor accident is only about one in 700,000.

However, those who experienced a meteor lighting up the sky over Michigan in January are forgiven for wondering if home insurance covers falling objects, including those that fall from space. The answer is generally yes, and the coverage isn’t only for damage from meteors but also from from other falling objects, such as satellites and asteroids. Be aware, however, that any damage to your car won’t be covered, unless you have first-party coverage, such as comprehensive and collision insurance.

Terrorism

Though your odds of dying in a foreign terrorist-related incident are less than one in 45,000, it’s reasonable to be concerned that an explosion or other event near your residence could cause property damage significant enough to contemplate making an insurance claim.

Coverage against terrorism often isn’t specifically mentioned in homeowners insurance policies. However, many consequences of an attack, such as smoke and fire, that might cause damage to your property generally are covered. Riots, similarly, may not be directly referenced as a peril, but many of their consequences, such as vandalism and theft, are considered to be covered.

Volcano Eruption

Few cities are located so close to a volcano that the spread of lava poses any significant risk to property. In Hawaii, for example, the Kilauea Volcano has been erupting for 35 years and first destroyed a home in 2014, engulfing the house in flames and lava flow.

If you live near a volcano, your homeowners insurance will likely cover any damage due to its eruption, such as lava flow, volcanic blast, ash and dust. But you’ll need additional coverage if you want your property protected from such secondary effects as flooding, earthquakes, landslides, or other earth movement, even if these are due to the volcanic activity.

In addition, any damage to your land and property, aside from your primary dwelling, including to trees or sheds, may not be included, so you should check with your insurance company if this is a concern. Similarly, you’ll want to confirm whether issues that occur due to volcanic ash and dust buildup over time, particularly when these factors damage your personal property, are considered covered. Increasing the breadth of your coverage can increase homeowners insurance rates, but can also solidify your financial protection should a wide variety of perils damage your property.

Avalanche

Avalanches are likely not named as a peril within your homeowners insurance policy. However, many of their consequences, such as damage due to the crushing weight of ice and snow, will be covered. This isn’t always the case, so it’s good to confirm with your insurer if you live near mountains that accumulate snow.

Similar to volcano eruptions, secondary consequences, such as flooding and land tremors, that can cause property damage are often specifically excluded as covered perils, so you may want to consider additional coverage for such issues.

Maxime Rieman

Maxime is a Product Manager at ValuePenguin focusing on insurance. Previously she was the Director of Product Marketing at CoverWallet.