For many homeowners, their home is only one of the structures on their property. They may also own a detached garage, fence, guest house or barn. This is why standard homeowners insurance policies usually contain something called Other Structures coverage.
All of these structures are prone to the same hazards as the main dwelling. For example, if a tree falls on a tool shed during a windstorm, it can cause serious damage. This is where Other Structures coverage can help.
What Is Other Structures Coverage?
Other Structures coverage, also known as Coverage B, protects those structures on a homeowner’s property that are detached from the main dwelling. It protects them from the same types of events that their home is covered for, including vandalism, fire and falling objects.
If a fence, shed or garage gets damaged, Other Structures coverage can help pay to repair or replace it. These structures can be very expensive to fix, so homeowners will be happy to have this coverage if they ever need it.
Is It Part of My Policy?
Other Structures coverage is usually included as part of a standard homeowners insurance policy. As a result, if a homeowner has home insurance, chances are they already have Other Structures coverage.
Which Structures Are Covered?
For a structure to be protected under Other Structures coverage, it must be separated from the main dwelling by a clear space. Structures connected to the dwelling by only a fence, utility line, or similar connection may also be considered “other structures.” Here are some examples of structures that may be covered:
- Detached garage
- Guest house
- Pool house
The types of structures that are covered vary by state, so be sure to check your home insurance policy.
Are the Items Inside Covered?
It’s important to understand that Other Structures coverage only covers the structure itself. It does not protect the things that are stored inside. The Personal Property coverage portion of a homeowners insurance policy takes care of that. It protects items whether they’re in the home or not.
Which Structures Are Not Covered?
Typically, Other Structures coverage does not apply to structures that are used for business purposes. For example, a homeowner will not be covered if they run a business out of their detached garage, or if they use their guest house for rental income. Other Structures coverage also does not cover the land that the structure is on.
In situations like these, the homeowner most likely needs a separate business insurance policy to be fully covered.
How Much Coverage Do You Need?
Other Structures coverage is usually included as part of a standard homeowners insurance policy. Typically, the coverage limit for all other structures on the property combined is 10 percent of the Dwelling limit, which is also known as Coverage A. For example, if your Dwelling coverage is $300,000, then your Other Structures coverage is $30,000.
This limit will be clearly stated in your home insurance policy, so it’s a good idea for you to look through your policy.
Can I Buy Additional Coverage?
In certain cases, homeowners may want to purchase more Other Structures coverage. Let’s say you build a new detached garage on your property. This will increase the combined value of all the other structures on your property.
As a result, you may want to choose from one of these options:
- Increase your Other Structures policy limit to an amount that’s more than 10 percent of your Coverage A amount, or
- Raise the overall coverage for your main dwelling. For example, if you have the usual 10 percent Other Structures limit and you increased your Dwelling coverage from $300,000 to $400,000, then your Other Structures coverage would automatically increase from $30,000 to $40,000.
Ask your insurer what the right option is for you.