Your homeowners policy may apply to more than your home

You have homeowners insurance and you understand that it is to cover the house itself. It was required by your mortgage lender to protect their investment. If the home burns down or suffers serious damage, the insurance can pay to fix it and keep the value of the house as high as possible.

What people sometimes do not realize, though, is that homeowners insurance may extend beyond the house. A lot of people have a policy that offers coverage for “other structures.” This varies from home to home and policy to policy, but it could mean things like sheds, storage structures, pole barns, detached garages, carports and fences.

The idea is that these other structures also give value to your property, but they may be hard to replace on your own due to the cost. Say a drunk driver loses control on the road near your house, leaves the roadway, drives through your fence and slams into the side of your shed. Your house itself isn’t damaged, but you’re looking at thousands of dollars to remove the old fence and shed, buy materials and hire a contractor to fix both back to the quality they were before the accident. This isn’t a minor detail or a minor event, and your policy should help you out.

If it gets denied, though, you can feel frustrated that the coverage you’ve been paying for isn’t there when you need it. The same is true if the money you’re approved for won’t cover the real costs. Make sure you know exactly what next steps you can take.