Other Structures coverage is the part of the homeowners insurance policy that covers detached structures on your property, such as garages and sheds.
Homeowners insurance covers the physical structure of your home, your personal belongings, liability, medical payments and loss of use. Most policies also cover the other structures on your property, like a pool or shed.
Say, for example, a windstorm knocks down a fence in your front yard. You could file a home insurance claim and collect money from your detached structure policy to build a new one.
Whether you’re a long-time homeowner or a recent home buyer, understanding Other Structures coverage can come in handy. We’ll explain what it covers and how to determine the amount of insurance coverage you might need.
- Other Structures protection is standard on homeowners insurance policies.
- Standard home insurance usually covers 10% of the primary dwelling coverage to other structures.
- Homeowners who want additional Other Structures coverage can add an endorsement on their home insurance policy.
- Not all items on properties are covered by Other Structures. Above-ground pools, jacuzzis and farming equipment aren’t generally covered.
What is Coverage B or Other Structures coverage?
Other structures are typically covered under Coverage B of a standard homeowners policy, says Greg Pannhausen, head of countrywide homeowners product at Farmers Insurance.
“This policy applies to structures that are set apart from your home, such as sidewalks, walkways, driveways, fences, pools, detached garages, carports, boat docks and gazebos,” Pannhausen adds.
Coverage B homeowners insurance protects your detached structures against a covered peril, like wildfires, vandalism, falling objects, hailstorms, wind damage and explosions.
If a detached structure on your property gets damaged in a covered loss, you can file an insurance claim and get money from your insurance company to repair or rebuild it.
Examples of what’s considered as Other Structures
Almost any physical structures on your property that’s not attached to your primary house are considered an “other structure.” Common examples of other structures include:
- In-ground pools
- Detached garage
How much does Other Structures coverage cost?
Gauging the cost of Other Structures home insurance is difficult because it comes standard with most homeowners insurance policies. It’s not an optional endorsement that would cause your premium to increase, such as water backup coverage or separate coverage like flood insurance.
The cost of detached structures insurance is based on your Coverage B policy limit. The Coverage B policy limit is typically a percentage of your dwelling insurance policy limit. You can review your Other Structures coverage limits in your home insurance policy documents or insurance binder.
An agent should be able to tell you how much of your premium is allocated to Other Structures coverage.
Another thing that can impact the cost of Other Structures coverage is how you get reimbursed after a claim.
If you have an actual cash value (ACV) policy, your payout after a claim will be lower because the coverage only pays what the property is worth at the time of the loss. ACV coverage is cheaper than the alternative — replacement cost value (RCV). If you have an RCV policy, the insurance company will reimburse you for property without depreciation. So, you’ll get a bigger claim payout, but that coverage is more expensive than ACV. Guaranteed replacement cost is another type of coverage. With guaranteed replacement, the insurance company reimburses you for the full loss — even if it exceeds the policy limits.
What is covered under Coverage B and what is not?
Coverage B home insurance offers protection for most detached structures. However, several things are excluded. Those structures may be covered by other home insurance policies.
Here’s a list of what is and isn’t covered by detached structures insurance:
|What is covered||What is not covered|
|Driveway||Above-ground hot tub/jacuzzi|
|In-ground pool||Other structures used for business purposes|
|Detached garage||Personal items inside detached structures|
|Detached guest house|
Keep in mind that certain structures you might think are considered detached structures may not be covered. For example, under some home insurance policies, above-ground swimming pools and hot tubs/jacuzzis are actually insured as personal property.
You can consult your home insurance policy documents to see exactly what other structures are covered under your specific policy.
How much coverage do I need for Other Structures?
Standard homeowners policies typically allocate 10% of the primary dwelling insurance to other structures, says Pannhausen. That means if your dwelling or structure coverage limit is $400,000, you would have $40,000 in Other Structures coverage.
If you feel the policy doesn’t offer adequate coverage, you can typically add an endorsement to your homeowners policy, which will raise your coverage limits. However, buying more coverage will likely increase your premium.
Almost every homeowner has detached structures on their property, so they should have this type of coverage. Even if your only detached structures are a fence and driveway, insurance will cover any damage. Without it, you would have to pay for the repairs yourself.
Other Structures insurance is also a good thing to have if you make improvements to your home. For example, if you install an in-ground swimming pool or a new deck, you should make sure your other structure policy limits are adequate for your new additions.
How to make Other Structures insurance claim
Filing an Other Structures insurance claim is similar to filing any other home insurance claim. The process is usually straightforward, but it helps to have the right documentation.
Here are the steps to follow if you need to file a detached structures claim:
- Survey the damage: Look at the damage as soon as it’s safe to do so. Take pictures and videos of the damage, and write down a description of what happened and when.
- Call your insurance company: Notify your insurance company as soon as possible after the loss. Many insurance carriers let you file claims online or through a mobile app. Otherwise, you can call an agent and let them know you would like to file a claim. You’ll be asked to submit some paperwork and provide photos and other evidence of the damage.
- Wait for your payout: The last step is to wait for your claim to be approved, after which you will receive your payout. Depending on your insurance company, you may be allowed to hire your own repairman, or your insurance carrier will find one for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need Other Structures coverage?
Almost every homeowner can benefit from Other Structures coverage. If your property has a pool, gazebo, detached garage, shed, fence, walkway, driveway or other physical detached structure that could get damaged, you can benefit from Other Structures coverage.
Can I remove Other Structures coverage from a homeowners insurance policy?
Some insurance companies might allow you to buy dwelling insurance without Other Structures coverage, but it varies. If you want to drop Other Structures coverage, call your insurance provider and ask if they will allow it. Otherwise, you might have to find a different provider that sells these policies separately.
When should I not file an Other Structures claim?
You shouldn’t file a home insurance claim simply because you have coverage. It’s wise to pay for the damage yourself if the loss is less than or similar to your deductible. Filing a claim will also likely mean your premiums will increase, so you want to take that into account.