Home safe home: 12 unexpected things your homeowners policy may cover

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Bob Phillips

Personal Finance Writer

Bob Phillips is a personal finance writer whose expertise in insurance and investments has been developed through over fifteen years as an advisor/tr…

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Ross Martin

Insurance Writer

  • 4+ years in the Insurance Industry

Ross joined The Zebra as a writer and researcher in 2019. He specializes in writing insurance content to help shoppers make informed decisions.

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Susan Meyer

Senior Editorial Manager

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Susan is a licensed insurance agent and has worked as a writer and editor for over 10 years across a number of industries. She has worked at The Zebr…

Most homeowners breathe easier knowing their insurance has got their house covered, but there's more to those policies than meets the eye.

Beyond the well-known safeguards against fire and theft, an array of unexpected protections lurk within the standard homeowners policy, waiting like quiet guardians against the peculiar and the unpredictable.

We’ve shared in the past about surprising things your homeowners policy might not cover, but what about the surprising things it does? Before you tuck that policy away in a safe place, let's uncover the twelve surprising things you might not know you can file a claim for.

The hidden dozen homeowners coverages

Note: Double check your specific policy to see if these coverages do apply. 

1. Spoiled food

The storm knocked your power out. And you just got that subscription to Expensive Cut of Steak of the Month! If your fridge or freezer stops working due to a power outage and that power outage occurs due to a covered reason (say a hurricane takes down your power lines), your homeowners insurance might cover the cost of that spoiled food.

2. Gravestones

You think of home insurance as covering your home and things on your property, but it can extend to your personal property elsewhere. If you purchased a cemetery plot for a loved one, that gravestone is considered your personal property, so it’s often covered even if it’s not located on your property. If it’s damaged or destroyed for a covered reason such as vandalism or storm damage, you could file a claim. 

3. Dorm theft

Again look at things your home insurance might cover even if they’re not in your home. If you’ve got kids in college, their stuff might be covered under your homeowners insurance if it’s stolen from their dorm room. Keep in mind that this only extends if your children are considered among the insured on the policy. If not, they may want to consider renters insurance to cover their belongings. 

4. Volcanic eruptions

The United States is home to 169 volcanoes considered to be active, which is more than any other country in the world. Not exactly a daily worry for most of us, but if a volcano were to erupt, your home would typically be covered against the damage.

5. Falling objects

Another peril we don’t think too much about is things falling from the sky and landing on our home. This could include planes, meteors, electricity poles, satellites, space debris, etc. The chances of this happening are small…but not zero, so it’s nice to know If something falls from the sky and damages your home, you're usually covered.

6. Dog bites

Your corgi Massimo is always sweet to you, but when he bites a friend, neighbor or unsuspecting delivery person, you could be looking at some expensive medical bills. Your home insurance may come in handy. Most policies cover personal liability if your dog bites someone, though there might be restrictions on breeds or if there is a history of aggression. 

7. Identity theft

Identity theft coverage is sometimes included in standard home policies, but is more often offered as a rider or endorsement. Some policies include services to help you restore your credit and manage the fallout if someone steals your identity. Some may even offer some reimbursement for stolen funds. 

8. Uninhabitable home

As the result of a house fire, your home is unsafe to live in until it can be repaired. If you can’t live in your home because of a covered peril, your insurance might pay for a hotel or temporary housing.

9. Damage from civil unrest

Should things get raucous outside, damage to your house from riots or other civil commotion is typically covered.

10. Trees and shrubs

We tend to think of our home as just the physical structures, but trees and landscaping can be expensive to remove and replace. Your outside greenery might be covered for damage due to risks like vandalism or certain natural disasters. Your homeowners insurance is most likely to cover the removal of a tree if it fell on your house or other structure or is blocking a driveway or other entrance to the property.

11. Libel or slander

You shouldn’t slander anyone…but let’s say you do and they sue you. Your homeowners insurance could protect you against legal actions taken against you for things like libel or slander.

12. Gazebo damage

Detached structures like your gazebo or shed are often covered for the same types of risks as your main house.

Wrapping up

Your homeowners policy does more than just cover the basics; it's a multi-faceted shield against a world of unexpected events. Understanding these hidden benefits can not only save you money but also provide invaluable peace of mind. 

So, whether it's protection from the skies above or the ground below (or even the fridge within), it's clear that your homeowners insurance might just be the unsung hero of your household harmony.