I have a wall around my garden that looks like it might collapse. Will my homeowners insurance pay for damage if it falls down?
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Asked April 7, 2014
Homeowners insurance includes coverage for other structures besides the dwelling, including fences, sheds, or man-made decorations. If the wall is damaged by a falling tree, high winds, or some other covered peril, the policy will pay for the repairs according to the terms of the policy.
If the wall appears to be unsafe, it may not be covered under your home insurance. Part of a homeowner's insurance policy includes certain responsibilities of the homeowner such as performing routine maintenance. If your garden wall is in need of repair and you decide not to take the time or spend the money to keep it in good condition, the insurance company can deny a claim for repairs on the grounds of negligence because you did not take the steps necessary to keep the structure in, at minimum, good condition.
Home insurance is not a general catchall to pay for things around the house. Not only are you required keeping the property in an acceptable condition, you are also pitting your garden wall against the future cost of the policy as well as any future claims that have to be filed. Every time you file a claim for loss or damages, the information is stored in a database for 7 years, and the more claims you file, the more likely it will be that your rates will increase. If you file too many claims, the insurance company will eventually cancel or refuse to renew your policy, leaving you to find coverage elsewhere at a higher premium rate based on your previous claims.
In the case of an unsafe garden wall, the best option is to make the repairs yourself. Even if your home insurance would pay for the claim, you have to consider whether it is worth putting your policy at risk for a non-essential structure. For most people, it is worth spending a few hundred dollars to repair a garden wall than to be forced into finding another policy or being left without coverage at all when something major happens to the home.
Answered April 7, 2014 by Anonymous