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It’s getting late on a Full Moon Halloween night. After getting home from taking the kids trick-or-treating, you give them baths and tuck them in to sleep. Closing the bedroom door, you walk down the hallway, shutting off the lights. As you descend the stairs to your bedroom, the hallway light flickers back on. “Strange,” you think, as you walk back up to turn the light off again. Reaching the top of the stairs, you’re stopped dead in your tracks as you notice a black silhouette standing right beside the light switch at the opposite end of the hallway. You’re stunned, and you can’t move. Suddenly, there’s an awful shriek, that mimics laughter from the ghost, as “it” shuts the light back off. You’re trapped in the dark. You still can’t move, and your heart is racing faster than ever. Until—the ghost flickers the light back on, off again, on again, in a never-ending cycle. “Stop it!” you yell, “you’re going to start a fire!!!” You bolt in the direction of the light switch, and the ghost is gone, leaving behind a burst of flames in the hallway. “How will my insurance company ever believe this?!” you scream as you gather the kids and call nine-one-one.
Peril means danger, but in insurance terms, could be better explained as a risk that could result in damage. If you have a “Named Peril” homeowner’s policy, this means that there is a list of specific risks that are covered by your policy. Examples of named perils include fire or lightning, aircraft, vehicles, smoke, theft, and windstorm. If you need to file a claim, it’s your job as the insured to show your loss is covered through a listed peril. Anything not listed in the named perils is excluded from your coverage. For example, if the ground shifts, causing the foundation of your home to crack, you wouldn’t be covered because “Earth movement” is an exclusion on the homeowner’s policy. However, in the scenario described above, you’d be covered under “fire,” but good luck explaining what happened without getting looked at like you’re crazy.
It’s always beneficial to talk to your agent about what kind of perils you can add onto your homeowner’s policy.