What the #*&@%! is a she-shed?

Pardon the provocative preamble to this post. If you’ve seen the television commercial, then you know the scenario I am about to discuss. Upset couple watching the so-called “she shed” burn to the ground while they are on the phone with their insurance agent. Is the posh “she shed” covered? Is there enough coverage to replace it as the homeowner is led to believe?

In standard first-party insurance language the sizzling “she shed” in the commercial is an “Other Structure” under Coverage B. Coverage B helps pay to repair or replace outbuildings for personal use, other than the home on the residence premises, if they are damaged by a covered cause of loss. Any personal property inside the structure would be included as contents under Coverage C.

Homeowner’s policies generally define other structures as those separated from the dwelling by a clear space or connected to the dwelling by a fence, utility line, or other related connection. Clear space refers to an open area. Examples of structures that are typically covered under Coverage B for the same losses as the home include fences, detached garages, patios, in-ground swimming pools, gazebos, retaining walls, tool sheds, sidewalks, or driveways. Courts have also held that water tanks and irrigation systems may be covered as other structures.

Other structures on the property are normally covered for the same perils as the home. So, if dwelling coverage includes risks for fire, theft, falling objects and vandalism, then your damaged structure would likely be covered for those perils. For instance, if a tree falls on a detached garage on the insured property—or if your she shed is struck by lightning—other structures coverage may help pay for repairs.

Detached buildings can be covered at replacement cost value, but other structures that are not buildings are covered at actual cash value basis.

Will the property owners in the television commercial get a chichier new she shed? That depends on whether the structure was insured properly. The limit of insurance for all other structures combined is often automatically calculated as a percentage of the main dwelling, usually 10 percent of the dwelling limit under Coverage A. Because this coverage is a set percentage automatically included in the policy it may not necessarily be enough to repair or rebuild the detached structure on the property.

Readers are encouraged to review their homeowner’s policies and consider the other structures on your properties. If you have questions about your coverage, you should discuss with your insurance agent or coverage counsel before a loss happens.

If you want to know specifically what a she shed is, don’t ask me!