What is a peril?

A specific risk, or cause of loss, covered by an insurance policy
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What is a peril in insurance?

The definition of Insurance peril is any event, situation, or incident that causes property damage or loss. Fire, theft, wind, and vandalism are common perils that homeowners insurance can cover. It’s important to understand which perils your policy covers so you know when you should file an insurance claim.

Are all perils covered?

No home insurance policy covers every single type of loss event. The type of policy you have determines how many perils are covered.

Policies offer two types of coverage for perils: named perils or open perils (also called all risk).

Named perils

Policies that offer basic and broad coverage only cover perils that are named in the policy (this is also called named-perils coverage).

Usually, named-perils policies cover loss or damage from these 16 events:

  1. Fire or lightning
  2. Windstorm or hail
  3. Explosion
  4. Riot or civil commotion
  5. Aircraft
  6. Vehicles
  7. Smoke
  8. Vandalism
  9. Theft
  10. Volcanic eruption
  11. Falling object
  12. Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
  13. Accidental water overflow or steam
  14. Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning, or bulging of certain household systems
  15. Freezing
  16. Sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current

With a named-perils policy, you are only protected if the cause of a loss is one of these listed perils and it’s not excluded by one of the named exclusions in the policy, and that leaves a lot of gaps.

Open perils or all risk

Open perils or all risk means all perils are covered except for those the policy lists as exclusions – the opposite of how named perils work. In an open-perils policy, more losses are covered, and you know exactly which aren’t.

Our policies offer open-perils coverage for your home and other structures so that you’re protected for more types of loss.

Which perils are excluded from an open perils policy?

Standard exclusions in an open-perils policy may vary from state to state, so look at your policy or ask one of our representative about your exclusions.

In some cases, an excluded peril can be covered by your policy for an additional fee.

That said, these perils are usually listed as exclusions in an open-perils policy.

Earth Movement This includes earthquakes, sinkholes, landslides and others scenarios where the earth moves.

Flood and Water Damage This includes surface water, sewer backup, overflow from sump pumps, and water below the ground that affects your foundation. This does not include storm surges – only flood insurance covers that.

Power Failure This is when the failure takes place off premises.

Neglect Along with reasonable upkeep, you must do all you can within your means to prevent loss from occurring and protect property after a loss occurs.

War What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!

Nuclear Hazard Let’s hope this never happens.

Intentional Loss If you cause a loss on purpose, that loss will not be covered by your policy.

Frozen Pipes in a Vacant Property A property is considered vacant after 30 days.

Ice and Water Pressure This is when ice or water freeze or thaw and cause damage to a fence, patio, pavement, swimming pool, foundation, or retaining wall.

Construction Theft Theft is not covered until a dwelling is finished and occupied.

Vandalism and Mischief in a Vacant Property This is uncovered if the premises have been vacant for more than 30 days.

Wear and Tear This is normal and expected, so it is not covered by insurance.

Mechanical Deficiency or Breakdown Appliances and other mechanical equipment are not covered by your homeowners insurance policy.

Smog, Rust, Corrosion, and Rot These things happen slowly, so you should be able to take preventive action before a loss happens.

Industrial / Agricultural Smoke This refers to any damage that may result from smoke or smog from nearby industrial or agricultural operations that affect your property.

Settling, Shrinking, Bulging, or Expansion This includes the results of earth movement, like cracked pavement, foundations, walls, etc.

Birds, Vermin, Rodents, or Insects Keep a critter-free property.

Animals You Own This includes any property loss caused by an animal that you own. Animal liability is a different beast.

Learn more about what home insurance covers here.

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