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5 surprising things homeowners insurance covers

By: Lindsay VanSomeren If a tree falls on your roof or a pipe bursts in your house, you'd expect your homeowner's insurance coverage to help foot the repair bill—those are pretty common claims, after all. Depending on a customer's choices and selections, homeowners insurance may cover a lot more than you'd expect. And if you're not aware of these options and benefits, you could be leaving money on the table. Here are five of the more surprising things that your homeowner's insurance policy covers. 1. Additional Living Expenses Sometimes repairs are so big that you actually need to move out of your home until covered repairs can be made. Don't worry, though: You won't be put out on the street to fend for yourself.  Homeowners insurance coverage includes a provision known as “additional living expenses." This provides coverage for the necessary increase in living expenses to maintain your family’s normal standard of living. 2. Medical Bills for People Injured in Your Home What happens if you invite people over for a neighborhood barbecue or birthday party and a guest gets injured? Your homeowner's insurance policy also comes with medical pay protection, which will help pay the medical bills for people who are hurt on your property. What if you are accidentally at fault for causing an injury to your guest while he on the property? Liability coverage will provide you with additional protection for liability claims by the injured party. 3. Damage That You or Members of Your Household Cause Suppose that while playing golf, you are impatient and hit a golf ball into the foursome ahead, hitting one of the golfers? Or perhaps, your son hits a baseball through your neighbor's front window? The liability coverage from your homeowners insurance policy also covers injury or damage that you or members of your household cause to other people or their property, away from your own property. That coverage also extends to your furry household members—for instance, you are at a dog park with your dog Fido and Fido is growling and lunging at another dog. If you are negligent and let Fido off his leash anyway and he attacks the other dog, your homeowner's insurance coverage will help pay for the other dog's veterinary bills. 4. Landscaping Did you know that your insurance can also cover the trees, shrubs and plants you buy to beautify your home? They don't come cheap either, after all. When a covered loss occurs to your trees, plants or shrubs, the homeowner policy provides up to 5% of the limit your dwelling is insured for and a maximum limit of $500 for any one tree, plant or shrub. There's one caveat, here: Losses from disease and poor maintenance aren't covered—so you can't simply file a claim because you have a brown thumb. 5. Personal Belongings Before your homeowner days, you may have purchased renters insurance to cover your belongings. Just because you now own a home doesn't mean that the things you store in it aren't covered anymore.  If you purchase a broader Homeowners coverage, that means that any losses from theft, accidents, hurricanes, and fires are still covered. Damages from some types of disasters aren't automatically covered, including notably, floods. In order to make sure you're protected against that type of catastrophe, you may need to purchase additional coverage.  Remember to keep a home inventory and safely store it away from your home. This way, if you ever do need to file a claim, you'll have documentation on-hand and can more efficiently proceed through the property replacement process.

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