Are you the kind of household where once the warm weather hits, your backyard becomes your oasis? Whether or not you’re out there all the time, you may have some valuable furniture, plants or other features that you’d want to protect. An important thing to consider is whether those patio sets and other features are covered by your insurance. Your homeowners insurance will generally cover most structures and possessions on your property, but you’ll need to work with your agent or insurer to determine whether your backyard setup is fully covered under a standard policy.
Not all outdoor features and structures are automatically included under a typical homeowners insurance policy, so you’ll want to be aware of what your policy will cover so you can determine whether to consider additional coverage. In this article, we’ll go through the kinds of features you may have in your backyard and why and how they do or don’t fit under standard homeowners insurance coverage.
Insuring Your Backyard Oasis with Homeowners Insurance
Most standard homeowners insurance policies will cover your landscaping and garden if they are damaged due to perils like fire and explosion. Landscaping and gardens are typically covered for 5% of your dwelling coverage (Coverage A). Take a look at your dwelling coverage limits and your insurer’s special limit for landscaping coverage in order to get an idea of how much coverage you have.
You’ll want to determine whether you have enough coverage for all of your landscaping in the case everything was totally destroyed. If your dwelling coverage limits won’t cover the cost to repair extensive or expensive landscaping, your insurance agent can help advise you on whether you’re able to purchase an endorsement on your existing coverage or whether you’ll need to consider additional coverage specifically for your plants.
Need an expert agent to walk you through your coverage? Give our team a call at (844) 824-2887.
It’s important to note that some homeowners policies have specific landscaping exclusions, like hail, wind, snow, and ice, which are more likely to damage landscaping. You’ll want to talk to your insurer to see if there are any exclusions and find out how you can get coverage for all of the possible perils that your home might face. Your garden may only be covered for included perils, which means it may not be protected against pests, diseases, flood, and earthquakes.
Note: If a dead tree falls on your property due to neglect, your insurance will usually not cover it. So, make sure you continuously check your landscaping to make sure you don’t have any trees, branches, or shrubbery that could do damage to your property or structures.
If your deck or patio is attached to your house, it may be covered under your dwelling coverage (Coverage A). Though it is attached to your house, double-check with your insurer to make sure your deck is included in your dwelling coverage.
If it does fall under your dwelling coverage, it will be subject to all of the same covered perils as the rest of the home, which can include fire, hail, storms, vandalism, and falling objects. Most, if not all, homeowners policies exclude flood or earthquake losses, so you would need to purchase supplemental insurance for losses caused by floods and earthquakes. You’ll want to make sure any additional policies also cover your deck.
If your deck doesn’t fall under dwelling coverage, you’ll want to make sure it’s covered under “other structures,” which we’ll discuss further below.
Note: A standard homeowners insurance policy typically doesn’t cover any costs due to infestations, water or sewage backup, or maintenance. Make sure to take good care of your deck.
Most home insurers will cover a fence under the “other structures” (Coverage B) portion of your insurance policy. Additional or “other” structures can help cover the large standing structures on your property that are detached from the primary residence. Learn more about other structures insurance here.
Since “other structures” is a part of your standard homeowners policy, it generally covers the same perils as your dwelling (this means flood and earthquakes are likely still not covered.)
Other structures: sheds, gazebos, fountains, greenhouses
Like fences, other freestanding structures on your property would fall under Coverage B, your “other structures” portion of your homeowners policy. This usually includes sheds, gazebos, fountains, greenhouses, screened enclosures, and more.
Take a look at the limits of your Coverage B. If those limits aren’t enough to repair or replace all the structures in your backyard, you should work with your insurance agent to increase your limits. You also want to make sure they know about all the structures on your property.
Commercial use of structures
If you use any of these external structures for commercial purposes, like growing and selling lettuce in your greenhouse or using your shed to store inventory for your side hustle, then these structures may not be included on your homeowners insurance. You will likely need to purchase business insurance to include any structures and items that are used for business purposes, even if it’s just a small business or side hustle. Check out our working from home insurance guide to learn more.
If you have a custom-built firepit that incurs damage caused by a covered peril, it will likely be covered by your “other structures” coverage. Talk with your insurance agent about adding a firepit to your home to make sure your insurance company will accept that risk and be sure to follow any local guidelines around firepit use in your backyard.
Outdoor furniture and belongings
Any personal property you have, even in the backyard, may be covered under your homeowners contents coverage. This includes gardening tools, wheelbarrows, patio furniture, toys, pool equipment, safety gear, lawn decorations and accessories, and more. As long as the damage sustained by these belongings was due to a covered peril, then your insurance company will usually cover the cost to replace these belongings in the case of a claim (up to your policy limits and subject to your type of coverage and deductible, of course).
Click here to figure out exactly how much personal property coverage you need for your home and backyard belongings.
Backyard features and homeowners insurance
Is your backyard fully covered against all of life’s potential perils? Chat with one of our licensed agents to go over all of the features in your home and backyard to make sure you have adequate coverage at the best possible price.
Make sure you have the coverage you need for your backyard oasis. Discuss your policy and needs with one our expert insurance advisors at (844) 824-2887 today.
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