Along covering your home and everything inside, your homeowners insurance coverage also protects additional structures on your property if they're damaged by a covered peril.
Other structures coverage, also referred to as Coverage B on your homeowners insurance policy, covers structures on your property other than the home itself. For example, if a detached garage or gardening shed is damaged in a windstorm, other structures coverage can help pay for repair costs.
What is other structures coverage?
Other structures coverage is the part of your homeowners insurance that covers damage to structures that aren't attached to your house. This coverage — along dwelling coverage for your home, and personal property coverage for your belongings — make up the section of your policy that covers damage or loss to your physical property.
Examples of structures that are covered by other structures coverage include:
Detached patios or decks
Driveways and walkways
While some insurance companies classify swimming pools as part of your dwelling, others consider it an additional structure on your property. If your swimming pool is covered under other structures coverage, you may want to consider increasing your coverage amounts. Above-ground pools are generally covered under your policy's personal property coverage.
What is covered by other structures coverage?
Other structures on your property are protected against the same disasters and losses as your house is, including fire, theft, windstorms, and hail damage. A typical home insurance policy covers your home and other structures on an open perils basis, meaning any type of damage that isn't specifically excluded from your policy is covered.
Types of perils that are generally covered include:
Water damage caused by burst pipes or appliance overflow
Frozen plumbing, heating, and air conditioning systems
Damage caused by an aircraft or vehicle
If an additional structure on your property is damaged by any of these perils, you can file a home insurance claim to be reimbursed for the damage.
What is not covered by other structures coverage?
Homeowners insurance won't cover your home or other structures if they're damaged by any peril that's specifically listed in your policy. Some common home insurance exclusions include:
Gradual water damage
Regular wear and tear
Intentional damage caused by a member of your home
Homes vacant longer than 30 to 60 days
Can you remove other structures coverage?
Even if you don't have any detached structures on your property, your insurance company likely won't allow you to remove this coverage from your policy. Other structures coverage only accounts for a small percentage of your home's overall insurance amounts. So even if you were able to remove this coverage, it likely wouldn't impact your rates all that much.
Additional other structures coverage options
For an additional layer of protection for detached structures on your property, look into the following and adjust your coverage where needed.
Replacement cost coverage
In addition to adjusting your coverage limits, you'll also want to check if other structures are covered at their actual cash value or replacement cost. If they're covered at their actual cash value, you may want to consider a replacement cost endorsement.
With replacement cost coverage, you're reimbursed the value of the damaged property without depreciation being factored into the settlement amount. For example, if a tree falls on your shed and you file a claim to have the structure replaced, your insurance company would pay for the value of a new shed at today's prices. With actual cash value coverage, you'd be reimbursed the value of a new shed minus depreciation due to the structures' age or condition.
Home business coverage
A standard home insurance policy only covers up to $2,500 in business property, so if the structure is being used as a home office or as storage for business tools or equipment, you may need additional business property coverage.
For example, say you run a landscaping business out of your backyard and keep your gardening tools and clients' plants in a greenhouse. In this case, you'd need additional coverage for both your business property and the structure being used to house it.
The same is true if you rent out a guest house as a short-term rental. Your insurance company may consider this to be a business and require additional protection like short-term rental coverage.