A news story from Seattle caught our eye and got us thinking about homeowners insurance. Imagine the shock of having a 3-pound lead bar come crashing through the roof your home on an otherwise quiet weekend. Luckily for this family, no one was injured, but the falling object did leave a shoebox-sized hole in the roof of their house.
After calling the police, we are quite certain the next phone call made by the homeowner was to their insurance agent. We’d like to have a copy of that phone call in which the agent replied with something like, “a whaaaat fell from the sky and came through your roof?” The question of the day for that phone call would likely have been whether such a freak occurrence is covered under homeowners insurance.
To answer that question, we need to look at the verbiage of a standard HO-3 homeowners insurance (ISO form) that is commonly used in Nevada. One of the great things about an HO-3 policy is that it covers the home, meaning the actual dwelling structure, for all “risk of direct physical loss”. This is sometimes referred to as “all-risk” or “open-peril” coverage. For the policyholder, this means that unless it is specifically excluded, the damage to the actual structure would be covered. The standard exclusions listed in most HO3 policies are as follows:
- Earth movement,
- Ordinance or law,
- Water damage (meaning flood or rising surface water),
- Nuclear Hazard,
- Intentional Loss,
- Governmental Action.
In addition, the policy lists some specific exclusions related to the maintenance and upkeep of your home:
- Freezing of pipes (unless reasonable care has been taken to maintain heat)
- Theft of building materials from an unoccupied home
- Vandalism and malicious mischief if the home has been vacant more than 60 days
- Mold, fungus or wet rot (unless caused by sudden discharge of water)
- Wear and tear, mechanical breakdown, rust, corrosion, dry rot
- Animals and insects, settling, shrinking or expansion of patios and driveways
So, would damage caused by a falling lead weight be covered by your homeowner’s insurance? Because falling objects are not specifically excluded, the answer is yes. Of course, we hope this situation is one you never have to deal with but know that for any claim, large or small, Safeguard Insurance is here to ensure you are treated fairly and your claim settled promptly.