Talk about bad luck. Aditi Haridat's parents had just bought the house they'd always wanted in New Jersey. One day while they were out, a lamp overheated starting a fire. The blaze heavily damaged the inside and killed the couple's pet cockatiel. Luckily, Haridat's parents had insurance. The company paid a contractor to repair the fire damage. While working on the house the contractor caused a major flood, which led to black mold [source: Palmer].
But the insurance company balked when Haridat's parents tried to get them to pay for the additional damage. The company said it would pay less than the estimate. The situation proved stressful. Haridat's parents couldn't sleep. In the end, they were forced to hire a public adjustor to help them negotiate a settlement [source: Palmer].
The situation is all too common. Although insurance is essential when owning a home, it doesn't cover everything. Most of us aren't insurance experts and sometimes we don't know enough to ask the right questions. And let's face it, who even reads the policy itself?
A couple of years ago, a tree fell on my house causing some damage. My insurance company paid for repairs. They also paid to remove the tree. When I asked whether the company would help cut down the other dangerous trees, the adjuster said "no." He told me insurance will only pay when a tree falls and damages the house.
My face contorted in a bemused fashion like a third grader who doesn't understand negative integers. It made no sense. "Let me get this straight," I said. "Insurance won't pay a couple of thousand dollars to have the remaining trees cut so they don't do any more harm, but it will pay $120,000 if the trees fall and damage the house?"
"Yes," was the answer.
"Doesn't seem cost-effective," I said.
"No it doesn't."
A standard homeowners insurance policy will not cover many things. Go to the next page to find out what they are.