The term “perils” is typically used to describe a specific risk, or cause of loss covered by an insurance policy.

Some policies have a list of “named-perils” such as fire, windstorm, theft, vandalism, and so on. If you have the type of policy that names specific perils, then your insurance company is agreeing to cover you only in the event that those events occur. If something happens that isn’t on the list, you are not covered by the insurance policy.

There are policies, known as “all-risk”, which cover any perils EXCEPT those specifically listed in the policy as exclusions.

Knowing which perils are covered by your insurance policy, and which are not is very important, especially when comparing insurance policy quotes.

Instead of only paying attention to price, keep an eye on the coverage the policies offer – which perils are covered and which aren’t can make a huge difference.

If you are shopping for home insurance, here is a list of perils you can expect will be included in the most common home insurance policies:

Perils Covered in HO-2, HO-3, HO-4 and HO-6 Policies

  • Fire or lightning
  • Windstorm or hail.
  • Explosion.
  • Riot or civil commotion.
  • Damage caused by aircraft.
  • Damage caused by vehicles.
  • Smoke.
  • Vandalism or malicious mischief.
  • Theft.
  • Volcanic eruption.
  • Falling objects.
  • Weight of ice, snow, or sleet.
  • Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam from within plumbing, heating, air conditioning, automatic fire-protective sprinkler system, or from a household appliance.
  • Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning, or bulging of a steam or hot water heating system, an air conditioning or automatic fire-protective system.
  • Freezing of a plumbing, heating, air conditioning, automatic, fire-protective sprinkler system, or of a household appliance.
  • Sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current (does not include loss to a tube, transistor or similar electronic component).

Source: Insurance Information Institute
There are exceptions, even in “all-risk” policies.
The most common exceptions are damage caused by flooding and earthquakes.

If you want to be protected against these disasters or perils, then you must buy two separate policies.

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