The type and frequency of home insurance claims vary from state to state. While earthquake insurance policies may be common in California, we don’t have much use for them here in North Carolina. However, hurricanes are a constant threat we must consider insuring ourselves against, along with six other common risks.
In this article, we are going to review the most common North Carolina homeowner’s insurance claims, which includes:
- Hurricanes and Severe Weather
- Water Damage
- Fire and Lightning
- Burglary & Property Damage
- Non-Theft Property Damage
- Personal Liability
- Dog Bites
Hurricanes and Severe Weather
In recent years, Hurricane Florence proved that even inland cities aren’t safe from hurricanes, as even our Greensboro insurance office felt the effects of the hurricane winds coming in from the coast. Though Hurricane Florence was an unprecedented storm, powerful winds and heavy rain regularly inflict damage across North Carolina.
Water Damage Claims
It is important to emphasize that standard homeowner insurance policies typically do not cover flooding from natural sources, such as flash floods or torrential rain. When homeowner policies refer to water damage, they are typically referring to flooding or water damage caused by systems, such as burst water pipes from your washing machine or sprinkler system.
If you live in a flood zone, you may be required to carry flood insurance. Or, if near a flood zone, it may be highly recommended you carry proper flood coverage. You can find out if you are in a flood zone by checking the North Carolina Flood Risk Information System (FRIS). Or, easier yet, give your insurance agent a call and they can tell you in a matter of seconds.
Home Insurance Claims By Fire and Lightning
Fire and lightning claims are not the most frequent claims, but they are the most expensive. Fire and lightning usually cause extensive damage. Lightning strikes can fry a home’s entire electrical system, which can also cause a fire. And fires result in not only structural damage from burns and smoke but also water damage from extinguishing the fire.
In many cases, homeowners are displaced from their homes for weeks, if not months, while repairs are completed. Homeowner’s insurance covers temporary living arrangements, such as hotel stays or temporary rentals. If the home is completely destroyed or damaged beyond reasonable repair, the HO policy may cover a complete rebuild or reimbursement at market value.
Burglary and Property Damage
In 2018, the NCSBI reported 40,681 residential burglaries. And yes, that’s only in North Carolina. It’s no wonder that theft claims and the related property damages are high on the list of most common home insurance claims. Broken windows, damaged furniture, stolen items, and more result in millions worth of claims every year.
Non-Theft Property Damage
Though many property damage claims are related to theft, most property damage claims come from less nefarious causes. The possibilities are endless, really: trees falling on your house, the mailman driving into your fence, a baseball through the window. The costs of such damages are relatively small compared to other claims but still average around $5,000.
Personal Liability Insurance Claims
Behind only home insurance claims as a result of fire, personal liability claims are the most expensive type of claim. Personal liability refers to instances when a person is injured or their property damaged while on your premises. Personal injury lawsuits can land homeowners in a serious financial hole, easily ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The Liability Coverage on your Homeowners Insurance protects your financial wellbeing from such lawsuits. Many people like to think that their friends and family would never sue them, but, unfortunately, statistics prove otherwise. Many people embrace the mindset that they are suing the insurance company, not you. But of course, it’s really not that cut and dry.
Personal liability coverage guards you against accidents such as your kid’s friend breaking their wrist falling off your swing set, or a delivery person falling down your porch steps. It may also cover any damage you cause to another person’s property. For example, you would be covered if your dog destroys the neighbor’s fence or your kid hits a baseball through a neighbor’s window. Though not as common, it can also cover you for libel and slander against another person.
Insurance Claims From Dog Bites
Dog bites technically fall under personal liability, but are worth mentioning on their own. Dog bites are not only one of the most common personal liability claims, but also one of the most expensive. Nationally, 1 in 3,250 homes files a dog bite claim every year with average damages of $37,051. If you don’t have homeowner’s insurance, you would be at risk of paying that out of pocket.
Even if you have homeowner’s insurance, you may not be covered for dog bites. This is especially true if you own what is considered to be a “vicious breed.” It is common for insurance companies to ban certain dog breeds from coverage. Pitt bulls, rottweilers, and chows are at the top of their no-fly list. It is very important you are honest about what kind of dogs you own and explore your different insurance options.
What Type of Homeowner’s Insurance Policy Do I Need?
Notice the question is not IF you should get home insurance because the resounding answer to that question is ‘yes!’ Unlike car insurance, you are not legally required to carry home insurance. But hopefully, this list of the most common North Carolina HO insurance claims clarifies why it is so important to have. After all, chances are your home is your most valuable asset.
The type of home insurance you need depends on the type of residence, location, the age of the home, and more. How much coverage you need also varies for those same reasons and more. Thankfully, most insurance companies offer a free quote so you can easily find out exactly what coverage you need and how much it will cost. You’ll likely find that the annual premiums are negligible compared to what the coverage can save you in claims.