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In most cases, your homeowners insurance extends 10% of its main dwelling coverage to other structures on your property, such as detached garages and fences. Your policy defines the protections these structures receive as Coverage B, while your main residence is protected by Coverage A.
Coverages A and B work similarly. For example, your shed is still guarded against damage from windstorms. Since your other structures coverage is an extension of your dwelling coverage, the same exclusions also apply. However, Coverage B has certain rules for other types of structures it excludes.
Which structures are protected by the Coverage B section of homeowners insurance?
Coverage B protects most structures on your property, whether they are either completely separate from your residence or connected to it by piping or electrical wiring.
Examples of protected other structures sometimes covered by your homeowners insurance
- Detached garages
- Pool houses
- Guest Houses
Your policy protects these structures from the same perils as your residence. Coverage B safeguards the other structures on your property from damage that comes from wind, fire, lightning, the accidental discharge of water and other people's automobiles.
You're also protected from falling objects, like trees, as long as you've kept up on maintaining your property prior to the accident. For example, if you know that a tree on your property is rotted, and that tree were to fall through the roof of your detached garage, you wouldn't receive compensation from your insurance provider.
When doesn't Coverage B cover your property?
There are a few restrictions specific to Coverage B that could affect which of your other structures are covered by your homeowners insurance. Coverage B doesn't cover the land that your property stands on. Policies also don't cover structures that you rent to others. This means that your guest house won't always be protected by your insurance.
For example, if you participate in a home-sharing program like Airbnb, a guest house that you rent out won't qualify for protection under Coverage B.
Your insurance won't cover other structures that you use for business purposes, either. If you have a barn on your property, your insurance will only apply if you don't use the barn for commercial farming. If you do, you'd have to buy special insurance to receive protection.
Since Coverage B is an extension of your policy's dwelling protection, Coverage B's exclusions are similar. Your homeowners policy excludes damage to your other structures from earthquakes, floods, freezing, mold or fungus, and wear and tear. Your structure isn't covered from faulty, inadequate or bad workmanship, or poor maintenance, either.
Your homeowners policy won't cover damage that's caused by birds, vermin, insects or your pets. If your detached garage or barn is infested by termites or bats, you'd be unable to file a successful claim.
Can you increase your Coverage B protection?
You can increase the protection your other structures receive by increasing the limits of your policy's dwelling coverage. Since Coverage B only consists of 10% of your policy's dwelling limit, you should consider how much it would cost to replace your property's other structures when you're purchasing your homeowners insurance.
For instance, a $250,000 policy only affords $25,000 of coverage to your detached garage, but increasing your total coverage to $500,000 would allot a lot more security if something were to happen to the entire structure.
If you want to protect certain items in your other structures, you can purchase floaters or endorsements. This could be a good idea if you store valuables like jewelry, firearms, currency or bullion in your other structures. Typically, homeowners policies restrict the amount of compensation they award for these items.