Does Home Insurance Cover Falling Debris From the Sky?

(Get your answers from an expert.)
Written by Maggie Tiede
Written by Maggie Tiede

Maggie Tiede is a writer and blogger based in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Maggie has worked as a freelance writer since 2013, when she began reporting on politics, local events, health, and human interest for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review.

paul martin Reviewed by Paul Martin
paul martin
Reviewed by Paul Martin

Paul Martin is the Director of Education and Development for Myron Steves, one of the largest, most respected insurance wholesalers in the southern U.S.

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Popular Questions

What is sky debris coverage?
Does homeowners insurance cover sky debris?
What is open perils coverage?
What does sky debris coverage include?
Expert(s) Who Answered

What is sky debris coverage?

I was wondering what happens if something falls on my home. Is it covered by insurance? What insurance covers it?

If your homeowners insurance has what’s called “open perils” coverage, then falling objects, called sky debris, are covered. Sky debris includes things as normal as falling tree branches and things that are as far out as a meteor or part of a plane. If it falls from the sky, it’s sky debris.

“Open perils” is a type of insurance coverage that basically means, “as long as we didn’t specifically exclude it, it’s covered.” Most homeowners insurance uses the open perils model, and sky debris is almost never excluded.

As long as you have homeowners insurance, you can be pretty darn sure sky debris is covered.

Does homeowne]'s insurance cover sky debris?

I live in a wooded area. I know I’m covered if a tree falls on my house, but what if it’s just a branch? Do I need to buy special insurance if I want coverage for that, or will my normal homeowner's insurance cover it?

You don’t need special insurance. Your homeowner's insurance almost certainly covers sky debris like falling tree branches.

Homeowners insurance is designed to be broad. That’s because there are all sorts of weird scenarios that could happen to your home, and insurance companies just don’t have the time or desire to think up all of them. That’s why open perils coverage is a thing.

Sky debris incidents are rare, especially the freak accidents you hear about on the news where planes, satellites, paragliders, and more have crashed into someone’s home. Insurance companies are more than willing to take the chance that they’ll have to pay out in one of these rare cases.

So you can trust that sky debris is folded into your homeowner's insurance. You’re maybe paying pennies or nickels a year for it, if you’re paying anything at all.

What is open perils coverage?

I keep hearing the term “open perils” when I read up on homeowner's insurance. What does it mean? And why does it sound so ominous?

It does sound ominous, but open perils is just insurance jargon. Specifically, it’s the opposite of named perils:

  • Open perils: Means that every possible scenario is covered by an insurance policy unless it’s specifically listed as an exception.
  • Named perils: Means that only listed scenarios are covered. Nothing is automatically covered unless it is named.

Nearly every homeowner's insurance policy uses the open perils model. That’s because the list of possible scenarios that could be covered under homeowner's insurance is so broad that there’s no way a named perils policy could cover it.

That’s great news for homeowners, who can sleep easy at night knowing that all kinds of freak accidents will be covered by their homeowner's insurance.

What does sky debris coverage include?

Now I know that homeowner's insurance covers sky debris. But what is sky debris? What are some of the scenarios included in sky debris coverage?

Great question! The most common type of sky debris is the boring kind: tree branches and other natural materials that fall onto your home from above.

It’s impossible to make a full list of materials that could be included in sky debris (that’s why it’s covered under open perils coverage, after all), but here are a few more ideas:

  • Meteors
  • Satellites
  • Plane components
  • An entire plane
  • Skydiving equipment
  • Paragliders
  • Large kites

And more. If you’ll pardon the pun: The sky’s the limit!

If any of these scenarios happen to you, your independent insurance agent will be on hand to help you deal with the aftermath. They can fill out paperwork and talk to the insurance company for you, helping you meet deadlines and requirements so you can focus on fixing your house.

Hopefully sky debris will never fall on your home. But if it does, you’ll be happy you took the time to research this coverage. You’ll be able to take full advantage of your homeowners insurance, so you can get back on your feet fast.

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