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Five Surprising Ways Home Insurance Covers You Outside Your Home

By Alexandra Macqueen • Published December 1, 2020 • 5 Min Read

Home insurance is one of those important items you look to purchase when you buy a home so that you are covered for things like a fire or water damage. Home insurance can actually help protect you for a lot more. Here are just five of those surprising and helpful ways.

If you’re a homeowner, you likely bought insurance so that you’d have some sort of protection to help cover your costs if your home or its contents get damaged or lost. But did you know your insurance coverage also extends beyond your four walls? Here are five surprising ways your policy protects you, and your property, outside of your home.

What is home insurance? A review of the basics

Home insurance protects your property against damage or loss from things that could happen such as fire, theft, and certain types of weather, including hail, lightning, and wind.

It covers both your home, and the contents of your home. This means that if your home gets damaged, or what’s inside it gets damaged, stolen, or lost, you can submit a claim to your insurance company to reimburse you (up to the dollar amount limit listed out in your specific insurance policy).

But did you know that your house insurance actually covers much more than just the structure and contents of your home? Here are five ways how.

1. If you require emergency accommodation away from home

One of the main reasons we buy home insurance is to protect us in the event of major damage to our property. But home insurance doesn’t just cover damage to your home and contents — it can also cover your costs if you have to live elsewhere temporarily, such as in a hotel or rental accommodation, because your home is not fit to live in, after an event that causes a lot of damage. The event, or situation that caused damage, has to be one of the ones listed as insurable on your policy, so don’t forget to review your policy and ask your insurance advisor for clarification if you are unsure.

Let’s say your basement has flooded, and your house now needs lots of work before you can safely return – or a fire has forced you out of your house until it can be repaired. In cases like these, your insurance policy will cover the cost of a place to stay while the repairs are completed; this is called Additional Living Expenses, for anyone curious about the term.

2. If your belongings have gone on a trip – with or without you

While your house is not usually moveable, your possessions are, and they can be included in the coverage provided by your home insurance even while they’re temporarily not in your house.

You could be moving houses, for example, and have an item go missing, or you might be at a friend’s cottage and accidentally drop your expensive, new phone in the lake. Even though your property is away from home, your home insurance could still cover it — and you can make a claim to cover the cost of your lost items.

3. When there’s more than a house to protect

Detached structures located on your property, like a shed, greenhouse, detached garage, or gazebo are also covered under your homeowner’s policy.

As a result, you can be protected if something happens to a detached structure or its contents, whether that’s because of severe weather, theft, or for any other insured reason. (Keep in mind that attached structures, like a deck that’s attached to your house, are also covered by your homeowner’s policy!)

4. If your kids have flown the coop to attend post-secondary education

If you have a child temporarily living away from home who is enrolled in and attending post-secondary school, whatever they take with them from home is covered by your homeowner’s insurance up to a maximum limit, which is listed in your policy.

So long as your dependent is in school and hasn’t moved out of your home permanently, your insurance coverage will travel with them to their dorm or rental accommodation — even if they’re over 18.

5. If Rover goes rogue

Last but not least, your home insurance policy includes liability coverage for you and the members of your household. That means your insurance policy covers you against lawsuits for injury or property damage that you or your family members, who live in your house, cause to other people — including damage caused by your pets.

This part of your homeowner insurance is there to protect you in case you unintentionally damage someone’s property or someone is injured in or outside of your home due to something you’ve done non-deliberately.

While every house insurance policy has special limits and exclusions, these five forms of protection are standard in most home insurance policies — so take comfort in knowing that your home insurance policy can provide more protection than you might expect. Reviewing your policy will confirm the coverage you have in place and if you have any specific questions, reach out to a helpful licensed insurance advisor who can provide answers.

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*Home and auto insurance products are distributed by RBC Insurance Agency Ltd. and underwritten by Aviva General Insurance Company. In Quebec, RBC Insurance Agency Ltd. Is registered as a damage insurance agency. As a result of government-run auto insurance plans, auto insurance is not available through RBC Insurance in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

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