Your dog just took down the neighbor’s fence while chasing a squirrel (and your neighbor isn’t happy). Will your homeowners insurance cover the damage? The short answer is, “it depends.”
Policy coverage and exclusions can vary, and when important factors like pets are involved, the fine print matters.
Want to know more? Here are a few common questions about pets and home insurance.
Does your policy cover damage caused by pets?
Many home insurance policies do not cover damage your pets cause to your own property — like a torn sofa or broken TV. However, liability insurance may cover damage your pet does to other people’s property.
What if your dog bites someone on your property?
Most home liability policies offer coverage for damage a person may suffer on your property, including dog bites (up to a certain limit and provided you’ve disclosed you have a dog). Note that after the first dog bite, you may face additional exclusions.
Are different breeds treated differently?
Some insurance policies may offer limitations on coverage if you have what is considered a high-risk breed. When you share what kind of pet you have we can let you know what to expect.
Are backyard animals covered?
Home insurance policies don’t provide coverage for damage your pets, including backyard animals like goats or chickens, cause to your property. However, liability coverage may still apply (with some limitations).
Will your home insurance pay your pet’s medical bills?
Unfortunately, you’re likely on your own for your pet’s medical bills even if they are hurt during a covered incident (like breaking through your neighbor’s fence).
Have questions about your coverage? Reach out anytime.
Home Insurance Coverage is provided — subject to a $1,000 limit — for debris removal of fallen trees.
The ISO form limits coverage to the insured’s trees felled by windstorm or hail or the weight of ice, snow, or sleet, or to a neighbor’s trees that are felled by a coverage C peril.
However, before there is any coverage under this provision, the tree must damage a covered structure or block a driveway which prevents a motor vehicle registered for use on public roads from entering or leaving the residence premises.
Additionally, the fallen tree could block a ramp or other access device used to assist a handicapped person from entering or leaving the dwelling.
The limit is the most that will be paid for any one loss, subject to a limit of $500 for removal of any one tree.
A question raised by the additional coverage for removal of trees is whether the limit applies to the cost of removing the part of the tree that rests on the damaged structure, or whether that cost is considered to be part of the cost of repairing the structure.
For example, if a tree is felled by windstorm and falls onto the dwelling, causing extensive damage, no repairs can begin until the parts of the tree resting on the building are cut away, so it would seem logical to categorize such costs as repair costs. However, the policy language, if strictly interpreted, would include those costs within the $1,000 limit.
The policy provides that the insurer “will also pay [the] reasonable expense, up to $1,000, for the removal from the -‘residence premises’ of” trees felled by the described perils. “Residence premises” is defined in the policy as “the one- to four-family dwelling, other structures, and grounds…where [the insured] reside[s].”
Thus, the $1,000 limit appears to apply to the removal from the dwelling and other structures as well as to removal from the grounds.
However, under this arrangement, the cost of removing the tree from the structure should still be considered part of the repair cost. If the insurance coverage for repairs is insufficient, the “additional coverage” (coverage in addition to that otherwise provided for in the policy) may be called upon.
Power outages can be a major inconvenience. They can also create problems for you, your family and your home as you shift into "emergency mode" to prevent your food from spoiling, to safely navigate your home in the dark, or simply to keep the heat on. Investing in a home generator can help make being without power more bearable — and can even fuel some fun when not being used for an emergency.
Home generators come in a variety of types and sizes, from portable versions to "standby" and inverter units. Portable generators typically run on gasoline and need to be operated at a safe distance from any structure. Standby generators start automatically when the power goes out, and are run on propane or natural gas. Inverter generators have a more complex engine than the other types, and are much quieter than their conventional counterparts.
Regardless of which type of generator you choose, you will need to follow the manufacturer recommendations for safe operation of the unit.
It's helpful to research this useful home device before you urgently need it, so here are 10 reasons to consider if you're thinking about purchasing a home generator of your own.
1. We can't control the weather.
Most power outages are weather-related. As the number and severity of extreme weather events rises, so does the likelihood of a blackout lasting 24 hours or more.
2. You have well water.
Without electricity, your well pump and filtration systems will quickly lose the ability to provide fresh, safe water for drinking, bathing, heating and more, to your house.
3. You have a sump pump.
If you rely on a sump pump to keep your basement or crawlspace dry — including all the possessions you keep in those areas — losing power means you also lose protection against water damage in those areas.
4. You work from home.
If you run a business or work out of your home, you know every minute counts. Going without power for even an hour can be a major inconvenience — if not a major risk — to you, your clients and customers.
5. Food spoils quickly.
According to the FDA, perishable food items should be thrown out once your refrigerator has been without power for as little as four hours.1
Travelers wants to help you protect the things that matter to you. We offer a wide breadth of products so you can be covered at home and on the road.
6. You live in a high-risk or severe climate area.
Some states are more vulnerable to weather-related outages. Others have such severe temperature extremes that power to control air conditioning and heating systems can be essential for comfort and safety. If you live in one of these areas, your risk to the potentially devastating effects of a power outage increase significantly.
7. Your property is vacant for extended periods of time.
If you are a "snowbird," frequent traveler or own a seasonal home, having a generator can protect your property from outage-related emergencies — whether you're in or out of town.
8. Someone in your home relies on an electrically powered medical device.
If you or a loved one requires the assistance of a home medical device that runs on electricity, a power outage can be deadly. A generator can help keep those devices running, but you also will want to check with a healthcare professional for suggestions on how to weather power outages with your particular medical device.2
9. You have a hybrid or electric car.
Make a portable generator go the extra mile! When not using it for your basic emergency power needs, keep it in your car to stay charged no matter where the road takes you.
. Generators aren't just for emergencies.
Portable generators can be put to use at work or play in, around and away from your home, too:
Whether it's due to storms, falling trees or some other challenge, power outages can bring an assortment of problems for home owners. A home generator can become one of your go-to remedies for those unexpected situations. Checking out the options before you lose electrical power is one smart way to beat the crowds who'll be racing to scoop up a home generator, for that "next time" outage scenario.
It’s a good idea to review your insurance coverage at least once a year to ensure that your family and belongings are appropriately protected. You’ll also want to review your coverage any time you’ve made a major purchase or experienced a significant life event, such as getting married, buying a house, sending your child off to college or receiving an inheritance. These life moments are considered insurance-qualifying events (also known as life-changing events for purposes of insurance), and it’s important to make sure your coverage is up to date to protect the people and things that matter most to you.
Have you had a life-changing event that might require an adjustment to your insurance coverage? Here’s some information to consider, which can help ensure that you’ve got the coverage you need to protect your loved ones and belongings. A good place to start is by doing an insurance review.
What Is an Insurance Review?
An insurance review is a thorough look at your insurance coverage – the policies protecting your vehicles, home, family members and other valuables. To review your insurance coverages, enlist the help of an experienced agent to tap into their expertise and knowledge. An agent will be knowledgeable about the available insurance products and can provide professional guidance on which coverages may be best for your unique situation.
The Benefits of an Insurance Review
An insurance review helps provide you the peace of mind that your most treasured belongings (and family members) are adequately protected in case something unexpected happens like a fire, theft or weather event. A review could also result in a potential reduction in your insurance costs if, for example, your agent discovers you are eligible for discounts, or that you require less coverage than you did previously.
Why (and When) Should You Review Your Insurance Coverage?It is critical to review your insurance coverage regularly to help ensure that your property, your possessions and your loved ones are well protected. During an insurance review, you should evaluate your home insurance (or renters insurance), car insurance and any other policies you have in your name.
When should you do a review?
When your circumstances have changed, or you have what’s considered a “qualifying event” or a “life-changing event” in insurance terms, you may want to consider an insurance review. As mentioned earlier, these events include things like having a baby, getting married and other big milestones. You should also consider an insurance review any time your policies are up for renewal. This is typically once per year.
What’s an Insurance-Qualifying Event?
Insurance-qualifying events are those moments when life circumstances change. Since these events can occur throughout the period of an insurance policy, you’ll want to check with your agent when an insurance-qualifying event occurs outside of the typical policy renewal time frame.
A qualifying or life-changing event, for insurance purposes, typically means:
Other Times You May Want an Insurance Review
In addition to those life events that might prompt an insurance review, there are other times that you may want to check with your insurance agent to review your coverage. For example, if you have expensive, high-value possessions on your property or are taking steps to increase the safety of your home, such as by adding an alarm system or upgrading your electrical system, those situations may warrant a fresh look at your insurance coverage. If natural disasters (for example, hurricanes) have increased in your area, you also may want to consider updating your policy to reflect these added risks. Check with your insurance agent for guidance.
How Often Should You Change Your Coverage?
Though you might review your policies annually, that doesn’t mean you’ll always need to make a change that often. In many cases, your current coverage may still be adequate. But generally, it’s a good idea to review all of your insurance needs at least once a year. If you have a major life change, contact your insurance agent or company representative, as the change in your life may have an impact on your insurance needs.1
How Current Is Your Household’s Insurance Coverage?
If you haven’t conducted an insurance review recently (or you’ve experienced a major life event or acquired additional property of significant value since you last renewed your policy), it might be time to evaluate your coverage.
The average cost to wall off a room can run you anywhere from $2,000 to a whopping $10,000. It’s certainly one of the more effective and permanent options, but not everyone’s existing budget is that flexible, nor is everyone able to renovate their space (we’re looking at you, renters). Whether you’re in the process of saving up for a true wall or you’re simply seeking creative, decorative room divider ideas, consider these seven designer suggestions.
1 Tall, Closed Shelving
Short of building an actual wall, a very tall closed shelving unit will instant create division between two spaces in a room. Alessandra Wood, the vice president of style at Modsy, recommends something akin to the Ikea Billy System (starting at $69; ikea.com) or Ikea Pax System (starting at $330; ikea.com). “These pieces come in an extra tall version, so they sit just below the ceiling giving the illusion of a wall. They also add a ton of additional storage, so they’re super useful,” she says.
Since the units will be floating in a room, you’ll want to make sure everything is anchored in so it doesn’t tip over. “When I did this in my former studio, I actually put a desk on the backside, bolted everything together, then bolted it to the wall,” says Wood.
2 Open Shelving
If you want to create division without completely enclosing a space, then open shelving could be the perfect room divider idea.
“I love this option because the bookshelf itself lends the height and depth of what a wall would naturally provide, but it offers you more opportunity to add storage or decor to a room while letting light flow through,” says Lindsay Pumpa, an interior designer based in South Florida. “Installing this is as simple as deciding where you want the room divide," she says. "Because this is a piece of furniture, you don't have to worry about it being permanent and you can move or adjust it as your needs change.”
A heavy, wide piece will help prevent the shelf from toppling (bolting it down is also a great safety measure). Pumpa recommends the Modloft Pearl Bookcase ($1,099; modloft.com), and the CB2 V Bookcase-Room Divider ($799; cb2.com) is another option.
3 Metal Chain Link Curtain
“When you want to break up a room and make an impact, a chain curtain will accomplish both,” says interior designer Katie Stix, the design director at Anderson Design Studio. “I like this wall alternative because it’s groovy, different, and luxurious feeling, and it can even be considered art. At the same time, it breaks up a large space to add drama and some privacy.” You’ll likely need to have a piece custom installed by a local metal artist, or you can consult a company such as Boegger, which offers a variety of metal curtains to choose from.
4 Sofa and Credenza Combo
Strategic furniture placement is a simple way to organically divide your room. For instance, a sofa paired with a console table or credenza can create an intimate living room on one side and whatever your heart desires on the other—say, a dining space, reading nook, or children’s play area. Or if you’re in a studio apartment, an extra tall headboard also offers a sense of division.
“By utilizing furniture rather than building a wall, you have the option of moving the items around and it won’t block the natural light, which ultimately makes a space feel larger,” says Diana Weinstein, an interior designer and founder of DW Design in New Jersey. “When creating the illusion of division within a room with furniture, I recommend investing in quality pieces that you can have for years and move to different rooms if you get tired of the design layout.”
One option Weinstein recommends is pairing CB2’s Avec Emerald Green Sofa with Brass Legs ($1599; cb2.com) with the Coyne Credenza ($999; cb2.com).
5 Floor to Ceiling Light Installation
Let there be light and artful division. A floor to ceiling light installation is similar to the metal curtain idea, only it doubles as an ambient light source. Kelly Dunn, the head interior designer at Fathom Design Company, says one of her favorites is the Abacus Floor to Ceiling LED Linear Suspension ($2600 to $3700; lumens.com), which isn’t as cost effective as some options, but still offers a striking solution.
“This particular piece can be customized to any height or width and each of the bulbs move on a vertical slide, so you can use it as a living element to add a unique vibe depending on your needs for the evening,” she says. You can also DIY a series of down-lit strings or install curtain string lights, such as Twinkle Star 600 LED Window Curtain String Lights ($32; amazon.com), if you’re seeking a less expensive option.
6 Wooden Dowel or Rope Installation
For a similar floor-to-ceiling room divider idea that doesn’t involve plugging anything in or working with an electrician, opt for a DIY wood or rope installation. "Working in NYC residential, I design a lot of small spaces. One of my favorite recent techniques is to hang wood dowels from the ceiling,” says Dunn. “It separates the space organically while adding texture and filtering light nicely. It also helps your overall space look larger, keeps your natural light intact, and still gives you the vibe of multiple spaces in a single room.”
Pumpa agrees, adding that rope also works. She says, “I love a rope wall because it divides the space and adds a unique decorative element. Plus, you can take creative liberties in the way you fasten the rope—straight tie versus a zig-zag design—and choose whether you want a cleaner rope versus a looser hemp weave.” She says you can either create a movable stand-alone piece, or anchor the rope to the ceiling and floor for a more permanent feel.
7 Plants and Large Planters
Those with a green thumb can utilize plants and large planters to create a faux half wall. “Not only will you be creating a sense of privacy within a space, but you are bringing in color, a feeling of life, and great energy with live plants. And it’s no secret that plants are also great for the quality of air,” says Weinstein. “There are a ton of great options in a variety of sizes, and by playing with the height of plants you can create as much division to a space as necessary.” Try West Elm's Citycape Planters, Tall Double ($299; westelm.com) with your favorite plants.
Ready to be a little wild in your decorating?
The secret to good decorating is to be bold and creative without ever being tasteless. Here’s an idea which is unique enough to get attention, yet will never be out of place.
Instead of just flowers in a silk arrangement, use feathers! Feathers bring an added bit of texture and life to the standard silk flower display. Pheasant and peacock feathers will add height and drama. Bright colored feathers will make your display eye-catching and unique. To add softness to a bouquet, try ostrich plumes..
You may want to leave the flowers out and make your arrangement entirely out of feathers. An interesting container can serve as a wonderful starting point. Search for one with an animal skin motif. Duck feathers in a leather container will add a manly feel to any office or gameroom. Short feathers at the base, with spikes of pheasant plumes, create an attention drawing piece for a buffet or hall table.
Exotic feathers can add spice to a bedroom. Put them out with candles for a special night, and create a very romantic mood. You might even try a boa for yourself!
Look outdoors for feathers of local birds from your area. You can use these to make a statement about your love of where you’ve chosen to live. Take a walk in a nearby wooded park and soon you’ll have a collection from local birds. Typically these are small feathers, yet they’ll say "home" in a cute display on an end table.
Search the floral section of your favorite craft store for interesting natural items such as moss, twigs and dried seeds to add to your design. A skilled florist will help you change these elements into a stunning display for your home.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. You’re sure to draw interesting comments and with reasonable consideration, you’ll add a stimulating look to any room.