What Typically Is not Covered By My Home Insurance?

Caeva O'Callaghan | May 14th, 2020

What typically is not covered in my house insurance policy?

It’s important to know what your home insurance covers – but it’s perhaps even more important to know what’s missing.

Not all home insurance is created equally.

From emergencies to water damage, do you have everything you need on your home insurance policy?

By examining your policy, you may discover that you aren’t covered for as many events as you hoped.

This is why having a broker check your policy is so important. They can cut through the small print mumbo-jumbo and give you the facts. Give us a call, and we’ll be able to sort you out with the perfect cover for you.

In this article, we’ll go over:

  • What isn’t covered by home insurance?
  • Does my home insurance cover me for any emergency?
  • Which home insurance add-ons do I need?

It might not always be obvious that you won’t be covered for all occasions. Read on to find out more about home insurance, and what a standard policy does not cover.

Keys and locks

Your standard home insurance policy will cover stolen keys and damaged locks in the event of a break-in. Your insurer will need to see evidence of your house being burglarised, so take lots of photos before you disturb anything in the house. Obtaining a crime reference number from the Gardai will also help.

However, your insurers won’t consider your keys “stolen” if you willingly give your keys to others, even if they make a copy without your permission.

So, in theory, your mother-in-law, your neighbour, your cat-sitter – anyone you gave your keys to who could have made copies (which takes less than half an hour) – could enter your home and steal from you, and you wouldn’t be covered.

This is because insurers consider looking after your keys standard home security. Your insurance doesn’t cover you for negligence. They will assume you’ve been as careful as the average person, and won’t pay out if you haven’t.

For this reason, home insurance policies usually exclude theft by family members, neighbours or ex-partners. Insurers consider thefts like this acts of deception.

Water damage

Luckily, your home insurance will cover most types of water damage, even if you left the taps on by accident. Insurers know you’re only human, and mistakes like this are rare but can be very expensive.

However, having home insurance isn’t an excuse to neglect your property. If the water damage occurs as a result of poor maintenance or neglect, you won’t be covered.

In the event of a claim, insurers usually send a loss adjuster to take evidence and check out if what you say is really what happened. Their role is to play detective, and find out what caused the damage. Your insurance should cover unforeseen events such as regular storms, falling objects and floods – but it depends if you saw it coming.

For example, if thunder and lightning felled a tree branch and knocked a hole through your roof, your insurance would pay for repairing the hole as well as water damage from incoming rain.

However, if a large storm was in the national news for days the media may have told you to make your house safe. But, if you said to yourself, “I won’t bother taking down those branches or buying sandbags because my insurance will cover it”, you wouldn’t win that one.

Similarly, if you’ve been neglecting your pipes or roof and waiting for a storm to finish them off, your insurance won’t pay out. This is because wear and tear was responsible for the damage, which is your fault.

House foundations

Although a problem with your foundations can spiral into a costly headache, you probably won’t be covered by your home insurance.

This is because it can take a long time to detect structural damage. The first warning signs are often cracks in the inside or outside walls, which are symptoms of foundations which have already shifted. You may not even notice the cracks at first.

Subsidence or ground heave can cause significant damage to your home and its foundations. Unfortunately, this type of cover is virtually impossible to get in some parts of Ireland, with Cork in particular.

But there is something you can do about it. If you live in a high risk area or not, you may suspect your house is vulnerable to subsidence. You need to do regular maintenance and take steps to repair it or prevent future problems. By doing so, your insurance may cover you for ensuing loss.

For example, if cracks in the foundation meant water seeped into your home, your insurance won’t cover the cracks. But, it may be able to replace your damaged possessions.