Many homeowners wonder if their insurance policy will cover a collapsed deck. If you own a home with an attached outdoor deck, should you be worried if it collapses? This article will give you more information about what your homeowners insurance covers and what is not included.
Homes with Decks
One of the many concerns that a homeowner has is the extent of the coverage their insurance provides. A deck is a great addition to any home as it provides an additional area where family members can lounge or entertain guests. However, damage to the deck can be a huge concern because not only does it ruin the aesthetics of the home, it can also cause structural damage to the main dwelling.
Many homes see a sudden collapse of decks during emergencies like snowstorms or heavy snow. Most decks have a lifespan of 15-20 years and over time, structural support may weaken causing it to collapse.
As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to regularly check the stability and quality of your deck. This is even more crucial if you are living in older homes with outdoor decks. It will also be helpful if you check your deck when there is an expected heavy snowstorm or storm coming into your area.
Homeowners Insurance Coverage
A standard homeowners insurance (HO-3) will most likely provide coverage for a collapsed deck because it is considered as an attached structure to your main dwelling. Otherwise specified in your insurance policy, damage or complete collapse for reasons under covered peril is covered.
A standard homeowners insurance usually covers for most kind of perils unless specified by your insurance policy. Some of the most common include the following:
- Lightning or fire
- Windstorm or hail
- Damage from vehicles (Unless caused by the insured)
- Damage from aircrafts
- Riots or civil commotion
- Theft (With limited liability of up to $1,000)
- Malicious mischief or vandalism
- Volcanic eruptions
- Falling objects
- Accidental discharge of steam or water
- Accidental tearing, cracking, bulging, or burning of pipes or household systems
- Accidental damage due to artificially generated electrical current
- Weight damage due to snow, ice, or sleet
- Freezing of household systems
Additionally, homeowners insurance will provide protection for the following areas and circumstances within your home which include:
- Dwelling – Damage to the dwelling including any attached structures like plumbing, HVAC, fences, and decks will be covered.
- Other Structures – Any other small structures that are not attached to your home such as sheds, detached garage, fences, driveway, retaining wall, and similar structures will be covered in case of damage.
- Personal Property – Protection for the contents or belongings inside your home this includes items like appliances, clothes, furniture, and every item that is inside your home.
- Liability Coverage – Protection against lawsuits that may arise due to the accidents that occur within your property.
- Loss of Use – Provide reimbursement in case you need to stay in another place due to repairs or rebuilding of your home. Other expenses like food, fuel, and clothing will also be reimbursed up to your policy’s limits.
- Medical Payments To Others – This coverage will provide protection in case guests or workers becomes injured while within your property. It will reimburse for expenses like ambulance rides, x-ray, laboratory, dental work, and hospital bills.
Tips When Filing A Claim
If your deck collapsed due to a heavy snowstorm, sleet, or ice, it is important that you contact your insurance agent immediately. You must inform your insurance company of the damage so that they can arrange for an insurance inspector to visit your home.
If you have receipts of the expenses when the deck was constructed, this will also help the insurance company get an estimate at the cost of repairing your deck. You’d also want to save some photos of the deck before it was damage to help the inspector understand the extent of the damage.
As a homeowner, it is important that you take the time to understand the ins and outs of your insurance policy. This will save you thousands of dollars in case of damages to your property and even the possibility of lawsuits. Make sure to review your insurance carefully and ask your agent before even signing up on those premiums.