By Allison Hess
Other Structures Coverage, also called Coverage B, is usually part of a standard homeowners policy. It helps cover the cost of repairing or rebuilding damaged structures on your property detached from your main home in the case of a covered catastrophe.
Let’s go through the specifics of “other structures” insurance to make sure your assets are fully protected against any and all unforeseen incidents.
What are “other structures”?
“Other structures” coverage encompasses anything on your property that is not attached to the main house. This includes things like sheds, detached garages, gazebos, pool houses, and even fences.
Coverage B is usually part of your homeowners insurance package. Make sure to talk to your insurance agent to make sure it’s included, especially if you have additional structures on your property.
In almost all cases, an additional structure has to be completely detached from the main house. However, some insurers might allow some exceptions, like an area of your home used strictly for business or an attached unit that you rent out to tenants. In these cases, you might need to look into holding both Coverage B as well as business or rental insurance, depending on the situation of the space.
Does my homeowners policy cover additional structures?
Most standard homeowners insurance policies include Other Structures Coverage. Home insurance is a total package that can include some of the following:
Coverage A: Dwelling
Coverage B: Other Structures
Coverage C: Personal Property/Contents
Coverage D: Loss of Use/Additional Living Expenses
Coverage E: Personal Liability Protection
Coverage F: Medical Payments
Because other structures coverage is part of your standard policy, it will only cover those named perils that you have listed for your dwelling insurance. So, if flood is excluded from your dwelling policy, your other structures coverage would not cover if your detached garage gets damaged by a flood.
However, the same set of packages don’t always hold true for renters’ (HO-4) or condo (HO-6) insurance. If you rent or live in a condo, you may need to purchase separate coverage specifically for additional structures on the property if applicable. If you don’t own the structure but you store some of your items in a detached unit (like a communal space for bikes and outdoor gear), you might want to include these items on your contents coverage.
How much coverage will I have for additional structures?
Coverage B is usually set at 10% of dwelling coverage. So, if you have $300,000 in dwelling coverage, you would have $30,000 in other structures coverage.
But this might not always be enough coverage, especially if you have multiple additional structures like a fence and a garage. It might also not be enough if you have updated or renovated spaces, like a she-shed or a garage that doubles as an apartment.
Think about the value of your additional structures. How much would it cost to completely replace all of the structures on your property if a storm took everything away? That total number you need to consider for Coverage B limits.
If you need more coverage than your 10% of dwelling coverage, you may need to raise your total homeowners insurance (specifically your dwelling coverage) or you’ll need to work with an agent to negotiate just coverage B.
Does Coverage B cover what I store in the structure?
If you store items in your shed or garage, these items would usually fall under Coverage C (contents coverage). This means that if a storm wiped out your shed, Coverage B would help rebuild the shed and Coverage C would help replace anything that was inside.
Be careful about what you store in your additional structures. Although they’re likely still covered by your contents coverage, some insurers won’t pay if you store your valuables out of the house. Plus, garages and sheds tend to be more susceptible to problems. Storing more durable items like outdoor equipment is usually the best option, and you should keep your valuables away from humidity, temperature changes, insects, and other potential risks.
Keep in mind that more expensive valuables may need additional coverage to meet their appraised value.
Other structures coverage works as a shadow to dwelling coverage. It functions like dwelling coverage, but it applies to any detached structures and limits are generally set at 10% of dwelling limits. This means you can protect all the major assets on your property with one standard homeowners policy.
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