Pensive woman sitting on floor with umbrella

What Perils Are Covered by a Homeowners Insurance Policy?

By the Mercury Team

Home is where the heart is, as well as some of our most valued memories and belongings. Owning a home is likely the largest investment you will make in your lifetime, so it’s especially important to ensure your property and cherished belongings are protected in the event of unexpected perils. What is a peril in insurance? A peril refers to a specific risk or cause of loss covered by an insurance policy. It can include events like fire, windstorms, theft, or accidents.

“Our homes have become our sanctuaries, and insurance companies want to help keep them that way,” said Christopher O’Rourke, vice president of property claims at Mercury Insurance. “Unfortunately, weather patterns or a thief’s agenda are outside of your control, but your insurance company can help you plan ahead and be prepared for the unexpected. Your ability to plan ahead now can help save you from stress further down the road.”

What Is a Covered Peril?

A covered peril refers to specific risks, events, or damages that are explicitly included and covered under an insurance policy. When a covered peril occurs, the insurance company must pay for the losses or damages outlined in the policy.

Here are some common peril examples that homeowner insurance usually covers:

  • Fire and smoke damage: Fire and smoke damage includes repair or replacement of the damaged property and may also cover the cost of temporary housing if the home is uninhabitable.
  • Weather-related damage: Homeowners insurance typically covers structural damage — e.g., roofs, windows, siding, etc. — caused by weather-related events such as windstorms or hail.
  • Water damage: This covered peril includes situations like a burst pipe or leaking appliance. Damage must be sudden and accidental, not due to neglect or lack of maintenance.
  • Theft of personal property: Homeowners insurance usually offers compensation for stolen personal belongings, either at replacement cost or actual cash value, depending on the policy.
  • Vandalism: Homeowners insurance typically provides repair costs for damage caused by vandalism, including graffiti, broken windows, or other deliberate destruction.
  • Damage caused by snow or ice on the roof: This coverage includes repairs for damage caused by the weight of snow, ice, or sleet that causes a roof or other part of the structure to collapse.
  • Damage from civil disturbances: This coverage includes structural damage and loss of personal property due to riots or civil commotions.
  • Explosions: Damage from explosions, regardless of the source, is covered. This coverage can include gas explosions or other accidental detonations.
  • Damage caused by motor vehicles or aircraft: If a vehicle or aircraft crashes into your home, the damage is covered. This coverage applies even if you don’t own the vehicle or aircraft.

What Perils Are Not Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Homeowners insurance policies also list exclusions, which are the perils or circumstances not covered by the policy. It’s important to understand what is and isn’t included as a covered peril to manage your risks and expectations appropriately.

Here are some common exclusions from homeowners insurance policies:

  • Floods: Damage from flooding, whether from storms, overflowing rivers, or surface water, typically requires a separate flood insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
  • Earthquakes, sinkholes, and earth movements: Standard homeowners insurance policies typically don’t cover damage caused by earthquakes, landslides, or sinkholes. A separate policy or endorsement is usually required to cover these perils.
  • Maintenance negligence: Problems that arise from neglect or failure to properly maintain the property, such as mold, pest infestation, and general wear and tear, are not covered.
  • Sewer backup: Water damage from sewer or drain backups often requires additional coverage beyond a standard policy.
  • Ordinance or law: If your home is damaged and needs to be rebuilt in compliance with current building codes and laws, your policy may not cover any additional costs associated with those upgrades.
  • Nuclear hazard: Homeowners policies typically exclude nuclear hazard coverage, including damages resulting from nuclear reaction, radiation, or radioactive contamination.
  • Intentional damage: If you intentionally damage your own property, homeowners insurance won’t cover the loss.


A homeowners insurance policy is your first line of defense against the financial fallout from disasters and unforeseen damages. The true strength of this defense lies not just in the policy itself but in your understanding of its coverage, exclusions, and the specific protections it offers. Talking with your insurance agent and conducting regular policy reviews are essential for securing peace of mind. By taking these steps, you can ensure that your home and possessions are protected to the fullest extent possible, preparing you to face unexpected perils with confidence.

Contact us today for a fast, free quote!

Mercury Team

The Mercury Marketing Team is made up of professionals in the fields of Content Creation, Public Relations and Social Media. The team works together to deliver professionally written and researched content to provide information for consumers.

Read More Articles by the Mercury Team