Outdoor living areas make our daily lives better. If designed & built well, they can even boost the value of our property when we sell it in the future. But structures like verandas, patios, pergolas, sheds & paved areas are more exposed to weather elements. Plus, the furniture and things we keep outside are more vulnerable to theft. So you might wonder, are they covered in your home insurance? Here’s how to insure your outdoor living area.
The Basics of Home Insurance
Home insurance is an umbrella term that refers to three variations of cover:
- Home and contents insurance: It covers your house, other structures on your property and your belongings for damage or loss due to unfortunate events like theft, storms and fires.
- Home insurance: With standard home insurance, you can rest knowing your house & other structures on your property (including your in-ground pool, garden shed and fences) are insured in case of fire, theft or storm.
- Contents insurance: This insurance type covers only the belongings inside your home, including electrical appliances, furniture, clothing and more.
What to Remember When Insuring Outdoor Assets
It’s best to get home and contents insurance if you’ve invested in your garden or backyard by embellishing it with decorative touches and furnished living areas. Do you already have home insurance? You can update it or get a new one to include your newly renovated outdoor patio or newly installed in-ground swimming pool.
Many insurers treat many outdoor areas as part of the home, so you are likely to get the same levels & types of cover for your outdoor assets as you can for your indoor structures & belongings. But keep in mind that insurers generally differentiate permanent fixtures from “belongings” or things kept in permanent fixtures. So if you have an expensive outdoor kitchen stove, fridge or barbeque grill, make sure to get the home & contents insurance than the standard home insurance policies.
What’s a Permanent Fixture?
Since a standard home insurance policy covers the house and other structures, it may cover permanent fixtures in your outdoor areas too. But just to be clear, here are the permanent fixtures that most insurers consider for home/building insurance:
- Outdoor kitchens (including built-in shelving, cupboards and drawers)
- Pergolas, patios and gazebos
- Decks, balconies and verandas
- Sheds and garages
- Outdoor swimming pools
- Driveways, pathways and any other paved & concrete areas
For appliances, fittings or any freestanding or not permanently attached structures, you have to get separate contents insurance (if you already have home insurance) or apply or switch to a more comprehensive home & contents insurance policy. Fittings & appliances include coffee tables, fridges, barbeques and desk lamps.
What Are the Cover Exclusions for Outdoor Living Areas?
If you plan to insure your outdoor living area, you should also consider exclusions. Exclusions to your insurance coverage might apply in the following situations:
- You failed to list an outdoor structure on your home and/or contents policy.
- You failed to provide the full value of your new or renovated structures.
- The damage to the outdoor structure or appliance is due to something foreseeable & preventable (for example, a backyard bonfire you started).
- The damage is caused by your pet.
Insure Your Outdoor Living Area Today
The total value of your backyard structures, fixtures and features might be higher than you’d think. It’s best to protect them and include them in your home insurance. Want to talk more about getting your outdoor living area insured? Contact us today.