Questions about insurance?  You’re not alone.  While coverage varies by policy and company, below are answers to some of the most common “Am I covered if…” questions we hear about homeowners insurance:

What’s NOT covered by my homeowners policy?    

Typically, coverage does not apply to damage caused by flood, surface water, water that backs up through sewers or drains, earth movement.  Personal liability and medical payments do not apply to the operation, ownership, or use of any aircraft, automobile, RV, water craft powered by more than 50 horsepower motor; bodily injury or physical damage caused by an intentional act of the insured.

What happens if I have a fire?  How do I collect for my personal property ?

The first step is to call your insurance agent to start the claims process.  Whether your policy pays for the replacement or just the actual cash value, you will be paid for personal property that you can show you owned at the time of loss.  To this end, it’s a good idea to keep an up-to-date inventory in a secure place.  It’s also helpful to take pictures or videos of each room to help you remember what you had.

If my sump pump fails due to water backing up through the sewers, am I covered?

No—but you can easily add a sewer and backup endorsement to your homeowners policy to cover the loss.

Is my boat covered?

Theft or damage to watercraft—including furnishings, equipment and outboard motors—is typically excluded IF the theft occurs outside your home.  If you own a boat, you need a separate boatowners policy.

I have insured antique items listed on my policy.   If I have a total loss, do I receive payment for the full insured value?

We will first confirm the value of the items with one or more independent antique dealers.  You should then be paid a dollar value based on the dealer(s) estimate of the worth of the antique items.  The best way to insure your antiques is to get appraisals and establish the stated values at the time the policy is written.

During a storm, my neighbor’s tree fell and destroyed my fence.  Who pays for the loss? 

Generally, your own policy should cover the loss.  If the loss occurred as a result of your neighbor’s negligence, your insurance company may be able to recover the amount paid for the loss.

Am I covered for water damage from a flood?

No, separate flood coverage is needed to cover losses to your property caused by flooding.  Communities in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)—such as River Forest and Forest Park—are automatically eligible to purchase flood insurance. Though Oak Park is not an NFIP community, Forest Agency works with several carriers who will sell flood insurance to non-NFIP communities.  We are the only local agency who does this.

If my iPhone is stolen from my car, is it covered under my auto—or homeowners—policy?

Your iPhone is considered personal property, and thus is covered by your homeowners—not auto—policy.  That said, the loss would be subject to any deductible. 

How can I be sure I have the right coverage?

A thorough review of your policy by an experienced agent is the only way to determine what property is covered and what perils are insured against.  Don’t wait until disaster strikes to find out you’re un/underinsured.  We can help you identify your risks and explain what’s included in a homeowners insurance policy—including the standard limits of coverage on insured property. 

Have a question? Call 708-383-9000 or email us at

Dan Browne is the President of Forest Agency Insurance, a proudly-independent insurance agency serving Oak Park and the surrounding communities since 1957.