No policy covers absolutely every disaster. In fact, there are a handful of standard policy exclusions that you should be aware of. Coverage for these items can be purchased at extra cost.
- Business property: Personal computers, printers, copiers, and other equipment used in a home business must be insured separately. Get a rider attached to your homeowner's policy.
- Host liability: The increasing number of lawsuits against hosts whose guests are later involved in alcohol-related accidents has led to liability coverage through a special "host liquor" rider. Some policies may cover this under the standard regular liability policy.
- Earthquakes: The standard homeowner's insurance policy does not cover earthquakes, although fire damage caused by an earthquake may be covered. Special coverage can be purchased. Costs vary according to the region.
- Floods: The standard policy does not cover flood damage. Special flood insurance is available from the federal government for flood areas and from some private companies. For information call the National Flood Insurance Program at 1-888-379-9531 or visit their website at www.fema.gov/business/nfip.
- Valuables: Policies always carry exclusions for certain valuable items such as silverware, diamond rings, and furs. You can insure these items by purchasing a separate policy called a floater. Avoid policies written on a named-peril basis. This means the insurance company will provide reimbursement only when the type of loss is actually listed on the policy. Get "all-risk" instead.