Home insurance isn’t nearly as difficult as you might think. But like any industry, we may use language that seems unfamiliar to people who don’t regularly work with it.
A good example of this is “other structures.” Sometimes our representatives ask if a homeowner has any additional structures on their property, and the homeowner says they don’t. However, that’s seldom true.
We think we can clear up this misunderstanding pretty easily so that people can get the right amount of home insurance. Read on to learn more about what other structures are, how they’re covered, and why that matters to you.
Other Structures: An Insurance Definition
Much of the confusion about other structures comes from people thinking that it’s just another way of saying “other buildings.” However, there are a lot of things that can count as other structures, including:
- Detached garages.
- Permanently installed or anchored docks with their permanently installed equipment such as lifts and launches.
- Hot tubs.
- Other permanently installed outdoor fixtures.
That’s a pretty long list of other structures, and there’s a good chance your property has one or more of the items on it. But that’s okay, because your home insurance policy most likely covers them.
You can usually find coverage for the structures on your property that aren’t attached to your dwelling under Coverage B ﹘ the section that’s actually called “other structures.” Attached structures, like a porch or carport, often fall under Coverage A. However, this can vary by insurance company, as can coverage for swimming pools. Some policies cover pools with Coverage A, but others use Coverage B.
How Much Other Structures Coverage Should I Have?
We generally recommend you carry a minimum other structures coverage limit that’s 10 percent of your dwelling coverage. This may be enough to cover all of your other structures, but that really depends on your answers to several questions, including:
- What type and how many other structures are on your property?
- How much your other structures are worth?
- What can you afford to repair if you face a covered peril?
Answering these questions gives you an idea of how much you might have to pay if you experience catastrophic damage and how much risk you’re willing to take on. You can always decide to carry higher limits if it makes sense for your situation.
Can I Remove Other Structures Coverage?
You may be able to opt out of other structures coverage, but we don’t recommend it. The additional structures may not seem like a major expense, but they definitely can be. We looked at several sites to give you a sense of what it costs to rebuild or replace structures homeowners commonly have on their property. The results are in the chart below.
Average Building Costs of Common Structures
|Shed||$15 to $160 per square foot|
|Driveway||$3 to $30 per square foot|
|Hot tub||$2,000 to $8,000|
|Deck||$15 to $30 per square foot|
|Fence||$15 to $60 per foot|
You also want to think about how likely you are to suffer some sort of damage to the other structures on your property. Anything that might wreck your home could just as easily ruin your other structures. For example, you want to be prepared if:
- Lightning sets your gazebo on fire.
- High winds blow over your fence.
- A tree falls on your carport.
- Hail damages your pool liner.
- An errant driver knocks your garage off its foundation.
- A thief steals valuable tools from your garden shed.
When you look at all the items on your property that you need to protect, plus the risk of having to replace them, carrying at least the minimum Coverage B limit makes a ton of sense.
Getting other structures coverage is simple when you work with us. But you can always talk to one of our insurance experts if you have questions. They’re happy to walk through every structure on your property to make sure that you have enough of the right amount of coverage.