Does My Home Insurance Cover Outbuildings?

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Does my homeowners covers garage and shed contents?

Does my home insurance cover outbuildings such as the garage and shed?

This is a commonly asked question. Having outbuildings such as garages, fences, sheds and decks on your property does not automatically mean that you want to insure these items against unfortunate events. What degree are these structures covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy and are there items that are excluded?

The standard homeowner’s policy

A standard homeowners’ policy will normally include coverage for outbuildings and similar structures on your property. Your basic home insurance policy provides coverage for garages, sheds and other related outbuildings, our requirements can differ with those of other brokers although you can always request for more details about this coverage.

Therefore, what constitutes a detached structure that will be covered by this policy? The following are the common structures that are classified as detached structures on your home insurance policy:

  1. Sheds
  2. Decks
  3. Detached garages
  4. Guest house
  5. Swing set
  6. Pool house
  7. Fences
  8. Gazebo
  9.  Tool shed

To be placed in this category, the structure in question should not be attached to the property. Alternatively, it can be attached through a fence, wire or any other type of connection.

Which types of outbuildings are excluded from my homeowner’s insurance policy?

This is another good question! Basically, any detached outbuilding on your property is going to be covered. However, there are some exceptions. For instance, let us assume one of the outbuildings is used exclusively for commercial purposes. Your homeowner’s insurance policy will not cover anything that is not deemed to be a solely residential structure. In case you have a structure in your home where you keep your animals, this is probably going to be covered by your home insurance. But, if the animals you keep in the outbuilding are subsequently sold for profit and are hence part of your business, the structure must be covered by a separate commercial policy.

And there are coverage limits for the detached structures and items. Generally, the minimum coverage is going to be 10% of your property’s coverage. Therefore, if your property is insured for $300,000 the coverage for all the outbuildings will be $30,000. You must also remember that the coverage is comprehensive. This implies that you allowed $30,000 as the total value for all the detached structures and outbuildings. It is therefore advisable to talk to your insurance broker about your specific needs. You might also want to think about increasing your coverage level, depending on the number and type of detached structures on your property. Even though you may be satisfied with your insurance coverage, insurance experts advise that you go over your homeowner’s insurance policy each year. Life can get busy and you might add a shed, garage, chicken coop or children’s playhouse and then forget that this will raise your property’s value. Conducting an annual review will ensure your coverage does not fall behind the value of your property. Your broker can also assist you to determine if you need extra home insurance coverages

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