Test your homeowners insurance IQ: Winter edition | PEMCO

December 4, 2023 by PEMCO Insurance

GettyImages-155072992.jpgHere’s the thing about insurance: It’s something we all need and continue to pay for year after year, but not everyone fully understands what their policy actually covers. 
At PEMCO, we want you to feel empowered when it comes to your insurance coverage and protecting the things that matter most to you. And that starts with staying informed when you purchase your policies and throughout your entire insurance journey.
As we approach the harsh weather of winter (which has the potential to cause major damage to your home, property, and even vehicle), learn what your PEMCO insurance does and does not cover. Test your knowledge with this fun and informative “Is it covered?” quiz, put together by our experts. 
You may be surprised at what you learn (and hopefully the answers help keep you protected this winter season)! 

Is it covered? 

Q. During a big windstorm, a neighbor's tree falls on your property and causes damage. Whose insurance is responsible for repairs? 

1. Your neighbor’s. It’s their tree! 

2. Yours. It’s your property that was damaged. 

3. The city should be responsible. What are taxes for, anyway? 

4. It won’t be covered by insurance at all. You’ll need to repair the damage and pay out of pocket.  

Answer: In most situations, the answer is likely 2.  

If a tree crashes onto your roof, fence, or deck, your PEMCO homeowners' policy can help you repair the damage. In most cases, even if it’s your neighbor’s tree, your own insurance will likely cover the cost of the repairs. That’s because windstorms are considered “acts of nature.” 

However, if the tree was unsafe to begin with (for example, if it was rotting), and your neighbor was aware, they may be held liable. 

In the event your home or property is damaged in a windstorm, report it to PEMCO so we can investigate responsibility. If appropriate, we’ll work with your neighbor and/or their insurance carrier on your behalf.  

If it’s your tree that damages your neighbor’s property, we’ll investigate promptly (while the evidence is still there), in case someone files a liability claim against you. 

Q. What’s the No. 1 reason people file homeowner insurance claims?  

1. Water damage

2. Fallen trees 

3. Electrical fires 

4. Lightning strikes 

Answer: The answer is 1, water damage! Your PEMCO coverage protects you if pipes freeze, burst, and flood your home once it thaws.  

When freezing weather is in the forecast, you can take important steps to prevent damage from frozen pipes. Also, consider a water leak sensor like this to help further protect your home. 

Q. What’s covered by my homeowner's insurance in the instance of a power outage or surge? 

1. Perishable food lost during a power outage. 

2. Electronics damaged by a power surge. 

3. Emergency lodging and living expenses. 

4. All the above. 

Answer: 4, all of the above!

Yep, you read that right! Read on to learn more about how PEMCO can cover losses due to a power outage or surge. 

Perishable food lost to power outage. Your PEMCO policy offers limited coverage, subject to your policy’s deductible, for food lost because of a power outage. Typically, people choose not to file claims for lost food because after paying their deductible, the amount they collect would be relatively small. Like any claim, it would impact your access to claim-free discount on your policy. Here’s how to prepare your freezer for a possible power outage. 
Electronics damaged by power surges. Lightning strikes and power surges are covered by your homeowners and renter insurance. You can minimize damage by unplugging sensitive electronics like computers and TVs as part of your windstorm preparations.  

While you’re preparing your home, check your surge protectors. They need to be replaced every two years, or after an outage, to be effective.  

Emergency lodging and added living expenses. If you’re unable to stay in your home, PEMCO can help you pay the added costs of temporarily moving to rental or a hotel (including added costs for meals and extra travel expenses) while your unlivable home is repaired following a covered loss. 

Q. What’s NOT covered by your PEMCO homeowner’s policy?  

1. Flooding 

2. Landslides 

3. Earthquakes 

4. All the above 

Answer: 4, all the above.  

Some people are surprised to learn that standard homeowners and renter policies sold in the United States, including PEMCO’s, do not cover losses from these types of natural disasters.    

Environmental flooding. “Atmospheric rivers” fueled by warm, tropical air can spark sudden, catastrophic flooding. You need specialized flood insurance, sold through the federal government and some private providers, in order to cover damage from these events. Although we can’t sell you the policy, our licensed agents at PEMCO Agency can help you explore your flood insurance options with information we already have on file. 
Landslides and earthquakes. Your PEMCO policy generally excludes coverage for landslides and earthquakes, which is standard in homeowners policies sold in the United States. We could pay to repair your home only if the damage resulted from a covered loss.  

If you’re concerned about landslides or earthquakes, we can help you find coverage (called a “Difference in Conditions” policy) through another company that specializes in that risk. Policies vary, but they typically offer all-in-one coverage for landslides, mudflows, earthquakes, and floods. 

How did you score?  

While not everyone can be insurance experts (that’s what PEMCO’s here for!), it’s helpful to be equipped with the knowledge of how your insurance works and what it covers, especially when it comes to winter weather events.  

If you have questions about your coverage, you can contact your local PEMCO representative or speak to one of our licensed agents at 1-800-467-3626.  
What questions about your insurance would you like us to cover below? Tell us in the comment section below! 

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