Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Porch Damage?

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Homeowners insurance covers some types of porch damage, provided you select a policy with a dwelling insurance clause. These clauses extend protection to any structure physically connected to your home, such as a porch.

If you have a porch, ensure that your homeowners insurance covers attached structures. Also, find out what types of damage your homeowners insurance covers. For instance, some policies exclude mold damage unless you elect it as a rider.

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Dwelling insurance does not extend to unattached structures. For instance, standard homeowners insurance may cover an attached garage, but a detached garage requires a separate policy election. The same rule applies to separated patios, pools, decks, gazebos, and other property features distinct from the dwelling. 

However, most policies offer the option of extending coverage to these structures for an additional fee.

What Types of Porch Damage Do Homeowners Insurance Policies Cover?

As with all home areas, coverage for the porch depends on the type of event that caused the damage. Therefore, homeowners should consider whether a prospective policy covers the types of damages likely to affect their porches.

Typical dwelling insurance covers the following types of damage: 

  • Fire
  • Smoke
  • Lightning
  • Wind
  • Hail
  • Explosions
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Snow damage 
  • Sleet damage
  • Ice damage
  • Falling object damage, such as from a tree
  • Damage caused by aircraft
  • Damage caused by vehicles

Whether the porch suffers minor damage or becomes a total loss, your home insurance policy pays for repairs or replacement of the porch according to the policy terms. For example, homeowners insurance has policy limits, and you must meet your deductible. Also, some policies cover the cash value of damages while others pay the replacement value.  

Acts Not Covered By Standard Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insure their residence to protect their investment and because mortgage companies require the coverage. Obtaining this protection is smart because the cost of many home repairs exceeds what most families can afford out of pocket. However, even those with homeowners insurance find themselves stuck with the total cost of repairs when an uncovered event wreaks havoc on their property.

It pays to know what types of events your policy excludes. For example, there may be catastrophes prone to your area for which your policy provides no protection. In that case, consider adding extra coverage or an additional policy to protect your porch and the rest of your dwelling for that type of disaster.

Specific Natural Disasters

While most homeowners policies protect your porch and house from storms, they exclude damage from some of the most torrential natural disasters. For instance, standard homeowners policies offer no compensation for flood- or hurricane damage despite the extreme devastation they unleash. Thankfully, you can purchase special policies for these events.  

You probably need additional policies or riders added to your current policy if your home is located in an area where any of these disasters happen:

  • Floods
  • Earthquakes
  • Hurricanes
  • Sinkholes

Lack of Maintenance

Over time, all homes require maintenance. A certain amount of wear and tear can be expected. Your homeowners policy offers no compensation for the normal degeneration of a home, as your car insurance provides no coverage for parts as they break. Keeping up with routine maintenance is the only way to prevent the big bills that result from a home falling into disrepair.

In addition, a failure to stay up to date with home maintenance could void your homeowners insurance policy. For example, suppose you allowed your porch to sink into the ground and become unstable. In that case, the insurance company may argue that it has no responsibility for replacing it after storm damage because it was already dilapidated.

Bug and Rodent Infestations

No one wants to imagine creepy crawlies and rodents taking up residence in their homes, but these creatures burrow into people’s porches and interior areas with stunning regularity. Often, the infestation remains unnoticed for long periods. These creatures prefer to stay unseen and find nooks and crannies in your home to locate their nests. For example, rodents might create burrows under your porch while insects inhabit areas beneath the floorboards.

When the infestation spreads from these hidden areas, homeowners discover that they have more little creatures living with them than they imagined. Homeowners often cringe at the cost of fumigation, but it is necessary. Over time, bug and rodent infestations damage your home’s structure, not to mention the “Ugh!” factor.

Unfortunately, infestations are excluded from homeowners insurance coverage. Since you must bear the expense of this type of remediation, be sure to have your home inspected and cleared of insects and rodents by a qualified exterminator regularly.

Many homeowners wonder if homeowners policies cover termite infestations. As with other bugs, insurance offer no coverage for termite damage. Removing termites and repairing the damage can be expensive, so it’s always advisable to have a prospective new home inspected for termites before completing the purchase.  

Sewage Backups

Sewage backups are a painful reminder of what can go wrong for homeowners. These damaging events result from debris trapped in the home’s main sewage lines. As a result, dirty water has nowhere to go and builds in the pipes until it reaches the sink drains, and which point it flows into your home.

Homeowners policies typically offer no compensation for sewage backups, but you can prevent them by avoiding stuffing your garbage disposal beyond its capacity. Also, if you have narrow piping, it may be good to have it rodded to keep the water flow clear. Finally, if you notice water drains slowly from the sink, it could be a sign that your pipes are clogging.

Nuclear Accidents

Most homeowners live far from nuclear reactor sites, making nuclear accidents a non-issue. However, if you live in proximity to a nuclear site, you should know that your homeowners insurance provides no coverage for the damage or destruction of a nuclear accident.

However, American law requires the operators of nuclear sites to carry liability insurance that covers nearby homes devastated by a nuclear accident. American Nuclear Insurers provides this coverage. If the liability exceeds limits, federal courts and Congress are empowered to order and provide additional compensation for homeowners.

Dwelling Insurance Covers Porches

Though porches are an outdoor part of the home, they are attached to the dwelling and therefore covered under standard “dwelling insurance” homeowners policies. Whether an act that damages or destroys a porch is eligible for coverage depends on whether it resulted from a covered event. If you live in an area prone to disasters excluded by standard homeowners coverage, consider purchasing a separate policy for those events, such as hurricane insurance. 

Porches are vital aspects of many homes, and with proper insurance, homeowners receive the maximum compensation if they suffer impacts from disasters.

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Andrew Lee is insurance content writer and editor for Andrew holds a Bachelor's degree from Ryerson University and has extensive experience of writing content for financial websites. His expertise is especially strong in home and auto insurance.