Home insurance is designed to protect your home, its contents and its value. A properly insured home is the last place you want to be when an accident strikes. Fortunately, it’s rare, but if an accident does happen, your home insurance policy will cover the damages so you can move on with your life.

While the chances of having an accident are pretty low, they can still occur. According to statistics, the most common claims among home insurance policies are damage from natural disasters. These claims include wind, hail, lightning, ice, snow and rain. Other common claims include plumbing leaks, accidental water damage, carbon monoxide, flooding, livestock and wildlife, vandalism, arson and stolen property.

If your home is damaged in a way that it makes you feel unsafe, there’s almost a guarantee you’ll file a claim. Here are a few things you should know about the most common claims among home insurance policies.

Windstorm

A windstorm can cause damage to your home, such as tearing down trees, wood fences and shingles. They can also cause a lot of water damage from fallen trees. If you’re lucky, you might only need to replace a few shingles or get additional insulation because of the cold winter months.

Hailstorm

A hailstorm is a storm with heavy rain, ice and damaging hail. Hailstones can be very small or up to several inches in diameter. They’re formed when a thunderstorm drops large amounts of water in one area which freezes and accumulates more water droplets on top.

If your home suffers damage from a hailstorm, you’re likely covered by your home insurance policy. You would have to file your claim with the company who issued your policy, but they will likely reimburse you for the damages.

Lightning Strike

In the United States, lightning is the most common cause of fire and the second leading cause of home insurance claims. It’s important to know that you should never go outside if there’s lightning in your area. Lightning is a quick and powerful burst of electricity that can cause devastating injuries, like burns or even death.

It’s also essential to know how lightning can damage your home. Lightning can kill electrical wiring and appliances, damage roofing tiles and coverings, set furniture on fire, or light a fire in a fireplace or stove.

If you experience any of these situations, you need to act quickly! Contact your insurer immediately and they will arrange for the necessary repairs.

Snow Storm

If snow is the cause of your damages, you may have a water pipe problem. This can cause leaks, which damages the home and its contents. If there’s been a roof collapse, your home insurance policy will cover the damages to your property.

Fire Damage

Fire damage is the most common claim among home insurance policies. In fact, this type of claim accounts for about 29 percent of all claims according to the Insurance Information Institute. Fires can happen at any time and in any place, so it’s important to be prepared for a fire. This includes having fire extinguishers, safety equipment such as smoke detectors, and having a designated evacuation route in your home. If you do have a fire and your belongings are damaged or destroyed, don’t panic. Your home insurance will cover the damage and you will be reimbursed.

Flooding

Flooding is a common claim among home insurance policies. It’s often caused by heavy rainfall and if you live in an area that is prone to flooding, it’s important to have coverage.

What most people don’t know is that your homeowners insurance policy may not cover your flood damages. That’s because the standard homeowners insurance policy only covers damage from rain that seeps or filters through the ground and comes into contact with your home. If water enters your home via an opening such as a door, window, or foundation crack, you will probably need flood insurance to cover those damages.

Vandalism

Vandalism is a common claim among home insurance policies. Here’s what you should know about vandalism claims and your policy.

If the loss is covered by your home insurance policy, you’ll be reimbursed for the cost of repairing or replacing items damaged by vandalism up to the amount of your coverage limit.

Additionally, while vandalism may not be covered in all policies, there are exceptions. For example, if your home has a higher risk rating due to being located in an area with frequent occurrences of vandals (think downtown), then vandals may be covered.

You may also want to ask your agent about adding vandalism coverage if you live in an area with frequent occurrences of vandalism.

Stolen Property

If you have a home insurance policy, your items are protected in the event they’re stolen. You can place a specific amount of coverage on items that are most likely to be targeted like jewelry, guns and musical instruments. You should have at least $250,000 in coverage for those types of items.

The average claim for this is between $5,000 and $10,000 with the payout usually being the actual cash value of the item. For example; if you had an antique violin worth $2,500 and it was stolen, you’d receive full compensation for the item as long as it was fully insured.

This type of damage is also covered by business insurance policies so make sure to check your business insurance policy if you own a small business.

Summing Up

Home insurance is designed to protect your home (and everything inside) against accidents and injuries for which it may be held responsible. This includes providing you with temporary living arrangements if necessary after an accident has occurred.

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