Whether you just bought your first house or you’ve owned it for decades, homeowners insurance is an important part of protecting your investment and securing your financial future. You never know when a tree might fall onto your front porch or a fire might break out in your kitchen.
But while understanding your policy’s rates and deductibles is usually straightforward, it can be tricky to figure out exactly what’s covered and what’s not. If you’re like many people, you’ve probably wondered, “What's homeowners insurance and how is it different from condo insurance? Does homeowners insurance cover water damage? How about home appliance insurance?”
That’s where we come in. At Asurion, we don’t just fix and protect your tech, we teach millions of people how to get the most out of their connected devices—from how to automate your rental property to surprising ways that smart home tech can save you money on homeowners insurance.
Here’s everything you need to know about what insurance does—and doesn’t—cover when it comes to your electronics and appliances.
What does homeowners insurance cover?
Every homeowners insurance policy offers different types of coverage, so make sure you check out the details of yours—it’s the only way to know what’s in it, what’s not, and whether you need more coverage.
A standard home insurance policy usually covers the cost of fixing or replacing your home and what’s in it when there’s damage from an unexpected event, like a fire, a burglary, a fallen tree, and certain types of weather, including wind, hail, and lightning. That coverage typically extends to HVAC systems, household appliances, electronics, furniture, clothing, your garage, barn, outdoor grill, swing set, and more.
Let’s say a fire damages your home so much that you have to move out while it’s repaired. Homeowners insurance may also cover your living expenses during that time, like the cost of temporary housing (say, a hotel or Airbnb®), meals at restaurants, pet boarding, and storage rentals as well as lost rent from a tenant who can no longer rent their room during this period. Standard policies also may cover medical and legal bills if someone is injured on your property—even meteorites and bear invasions.
What’s the difference between homeowners insurance and condo insurance?
When you're a homeowner, you own your entire home, which means you'll want insurance that protects the entire space—both inside and out. That includes the garage, yard, and any other structures on your property. Meanwhile, condos are part of larger complexes that are operated by an association with its own insurance for shared and public spaces, like rooftops and elevators. So condo owners only need to insure the inside of their home and their personal property. A standard homeowners insurance policy should cover this and more (the exterior of the building, features on the property, etc.). To learn more about protecting your valuable items with condo insurance, reach out to your insurance carrier.
Does home insurance cover home appliances?
Home appliance insurance can be complicated. Since your appliances are personal items, homeowners insurance coverage may include them as long as they’re damaged by fire, lightning, or another covered incident. If your oven, refrigerator, microwave, or washing machine is destroyed in a fire, for instance, your policy’s personal property coverage will likely help pay to replace it. But if your appliance breaks down from normal wear and tear, you probably won’t be reimbursed.
Want protection for those incidents that aren’t covered by your homeowners policy? Check out Asurion Appliance+®.
Does homeowners insurance cover your child’s college laptop?
The personal property coverage in your homeowners policy likely protects your family’s belongings if they’re damaged by burglary, fire, lightning, or the types of incidents we’ve mentioned. This may include your college student’s computer.
Let’s say it’s stolen from her dorm room—that means you can likely file an insurance claim. (Just make sure to check the details on your policy to see whether there’s a device age limit and whether the coverage applies to both on- and off-campus housing.) But if she cracks her screen by dropping it, that’s probably not covered.
Does homeowners insurance cover cell phones?
Your homeowners insurance policy will likely cover your cell phone, but usually only if there was something like a robbery, a fire, or vandalism involved. So if a thief breaks into your home and nabs your phone from the kitchen table, you’ll probably be covered, but not if you drop your phone in the toilet or leave it on the train. Some insurance plans will cover the cost of repairs or a replacement if your phone is damaged due to water from a faulty pipe, but check the fine print to be sure.
Worried about those incidents that aren’t covered by your homeowners policy? Our phone protection plan can help with that.
Does homeowners insurance cover the rest of your electronics and smart home devices?
If your electronic devices are destroyed by a disaster listed in your policy, homeowners insurance will likely cover some or all of the loss. But there are coverage limits. Smart tech may only be covered up to a certain amount, which isn’t always enough to buy a replacement. And your plan likely won't kick in if your device stops working due to normal wear and tear or an accident. Check your policy for details.
Want home tech protection and 24/7 live support? Our Asurion Home+® protection plan even covers accidental drops, spills, and cracked screens, which means we can get your gaming device, laptop, tablet, headset, and other tech back up and running for a minimal fee.
What isn't covered in homeowners insurance?
There are all sorts of surprising things your home insurance likely doesn’t cover, like sewer backups, sinkholes, and pest infestations, including termites. Mold damage is another one—most policies exclude it except when it’s caused by something covered in your policy. The same goes for theft of jewelry, artwork, collectibles, and other expensive items that exceed the limit on your policy. But there are also more common things that aren’t covered that you should be aware of.
Identity theft protection
Identity theft—like credit card fraud, benefits fraud, and tax-related fraud—happens when cybercriminals steal your personal data and information, typically as a way to get money. The results can be devastating and long-lasting. Standard homeowners insurance policies usually don’t offer identity theft protection, but you may be able to buy it as an add-on from your insurance company or just get a separate policy. This would protect you from losses beyond property stolen or damaged in your home, and it may cover the cost of services to help restore your identity or repair your credit.
To learn more about protecting your digital world, check out our guide to staying safe online. You can also learn how to secure your phone from hackers and what a data breach means and what to do if it happens to you.
Flood and earthquake coverage
A typical homeowner’s insurance policy often doesn’t include earthquake damage and flood coverage, though you can often add it for an extra cost. The price will vary based on your home and the risk level in your community, and if you live in a high-risk area where flood insurance isn’t available, you can buy it through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program.
There are different types of water damage, so here are a couple of ways to think about it. If hail causes roof leaks, your standard policy will likely pay for repairs. If lack of maintenance caused the water leaks, the roof repairs are probably on you. Similarly, if an earthquake causes a pipe to burst and the water damages your computer and phone, you should be covered. But if the river half a mile away overflows, sending water pouring into your basement, your policy likely won’t cover that flood damage.
Normal wear and tear
Any damage from wear and tear, negligence, or misuse isn't usually covered by homeowners insurance. So if your smart thermostat or washer and dryer are suddenly malfunctioning after years of neglect, you probably need to pay to fix them.
Worried about your oven or dishwasher? Check out our tips to make your appliances last longer.