Adding a deck means adding more usable space to your home but does it also mean adding additional fees to your homeowners insurance policy? Does your policy even cover outdoor spaces like a deck? Do you need to let your insurance provider know that you’ve added a deck, and if so, how much “cha-ching” will you be shelling out?
Long story short – if it’s attached to your home, it’s covered under your policy as ‘dwelling coverage.’ Even though we don’t “dwell” on our decks for more than a few hours, it’s still attached to your home (just like a garage) and covered under your policy should something happen to it.
What exactly is covered? According to Bolt Insurance, the following losses that can pertain to your decking is typically covered under your insurance policy for your home:
- Smoke or fire
- Lightning strikes
- Falling objects
- Damage by a motor vehicle
- Damage by an aircraft
- Snow, ice or sleet accumulation causing damage
But not everything is covered under your homeowner’s policy. Things like ground movement from sinkholes or earthquakes, flooding, and water backups require additional coverage, and issues caused by lack of maintenance like termite damage and mold are not covered under most insurance policies.
So, your deck is covered, end of story, right? No – you’ll need to let your insurance carrier know that you’ve increased the dwelling of your home. In fact, best practice is letting your insurance company know about the deck project before you start on the remodel. Esurance also recommends before and after photos – specifically if you’re storing furniture from your deck in another part of the home during construction.
After completion, make sure that your policy’s coverage amount matches the new value of your property. Remember – honesty is the best policy when it comes to insurance policies. “If you build a deck and someone falls off it, you will likely be denied your claim if you failed to tell your insurance company about the addition. You also run the risk of being dropped by your insurance company.”