Do you think your insurance policy would reimburse you for earthquake damage?

The answer, according to one insurance company, is almost always “no”, unless you purchased a separate earthquake policy. Almost 30 percent of survey respondents thought the answer was “yes”, and another 30 percent didn’t know.

If your sump pump backs up and your house floods as a result, will your homeowners insurance policy reimburse you for the damage?

Despite the fact that most people believe the answer is “yes”, it is unfortunately not the case. That means homeowners could have to shell out cash for costly repairs, unless they specifically added (and paid extra for) coverage for sump-pump failures.

If new building codes mean you need to upgrade undamaged parts of your house, will your policy reimburse you for those costs?

While nearly 2 in 3 survey respondents said “yes”, the answer is “no”, according to one insurance company. In most cases, policies don’t pay for upgrades, even those that are mandated by new laws, in undamaged parts of homes, unless you take out additional “ordinance or law” coverage.

If you go away for the winter and your pipes freeze and break, will your policy cover that damage?

While policies remain valid even when you’re on vacation or away for a long time, you have to take certain steps to protect your home, or you might be liable for the costs. For example, if you fail to keep the home heated or pipes drained, any damage that results from freezing might not be covered.

Say you have auto and home insurance with the same company, and both get damaged in a tornado. Will you pay one deductible or two separate ones for each item?

Chances are, you need to pay deductibles, even if both the house and car are damaged by the same storm.

If a fire destroys your house, will insurance pay the full cost to rebuild?

The answer is most likely “no”, because most insurance policies cap their coverage — and take depreciation into account when calculating the value of personal possessions. That means homeowners could be insured for far less than they think. Seven in ten survey respondents said they thought their policy would pay the full cost to rebuild after a natural disaster.

What information should I have prior to an emergency?

  • Keep current insurance policy information organized: carrier name and agent’s name and phone number. Add it to your contacts in your cell in case of an emergency.
  • Know your deductible. This is the money you agree to pay out-of-pocket before the insurance company pays toward a claim resulting from a loss or damage. It is very important to have these funds put back in case you should have to file an insurance claim.
  • Do you have an ACV or RCV policy? Under the ACV provisions of a policy, where the damaged property can be repaired, the insured is entitled only to the repair cost — not to any diminution in the property’s fair market value.
  • Mortgage company name, address, phone, and your account number. Your insurance policy may be written to include a mortgage company name on any payments the insurance company releases. This is due to the fact that your mortgage company has invested interest in the property and with inspections can verify repairs were done properly.