What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?
Dwelling includes the main structure of your home and other structures that are attached to it. Common examples of structures attached to a home are:
More than just covering exterior structures
Dwelling coverage may also include things that are inside of your home:
- Built-in appliances: oven, furnace, water heater, etc.
- Permanent fixtures: kitchen cabinets, upgraded hardwood flooring, etc.
Beyond your dwelling, there may be other buildings or structures within your property. Most common examples of these structures are:
These structures are covered within the verbiage of your insurance documents, which includes how the insurance company estimates claim payout in the event of a covered claim.
Personal liability coverage protects you, the homeowner, in the event of an accident inside or outside of your home. The coverage provides financial protection for:
Coverage For Your Pets
According to the Insurance Information Institute, there were nearly 18,000 dog bite claims in 2019 and the average payout for a dog bite claim was $44,760. Dog bite claims remain as one of the top personal liability insurance claims year after year in the United States.
The financial protection afforded by your personal liability coverage also extends to injuries or damages caused by your pets including dog bites.
Learn more about Personal Liability Coverage.
Exactly like its name, personal property coverage provides financial protection for all of your personal belongings. Here is a list of the most common examples:
High value personal items such as jewelry, guns, cash, and business properties may have individual coverage limits. To adequately insure them for their value, you may want to consider adding scheduled personal property coverage.
Simply known as "Med Pay," this coverage is designed specifically to cover the cost of medical expenses for any injuries your guests sustained while they are visiting your home.
Med pay offers some distinctive benefits that are different than other types of liability insurance:
Additional Living Expense
Another essential coverage on your policy is called additional living expense, also commonly known as loss of use coverage. Just as its name says, this coverage will take care of additional living expense in the event that your home is not livable due to a covered peril such as fire.
Examples of covered expenses:
The amount of coverage is typically between 20% to 30% of your homeowners dwelling coverage, and most insurance companies do not have deductible for this coverage.
Learn more about Additional Living Expense Coverage.
Coverage Limits & Deductibles
Dwelling coverage is the main coverage that determines your homeowners insurance coverage limits. It is also the baseline that is used to determine coverage limits of other coverages such as personal property and additional living expense.
Here is an example where the dwelling coverage is set at $500,000:
How is the dwelling coverage limit established?
The main factor that determines your dwelling coverage is your home replacement cost.
Home replacement cost is the total estimated cost including labor and material to rebuild your home back to its original condition prior to a claim.
There are several main factors used to determine home replacement cost:
- Building info - year built, square footage, etc.
- Exterior features - exterior wall material, age of roof, etc.
- Interior features - number of bathrooms and kitchens, type of interior flooring, etc.
How is home replacement cost different than home sales price?
Home sales price is the market price of your property including both value of the land and value of any improvements on the land, such as your home, landscaping, or other features.
Home replacement cost on your insurance policy is the estimated cost including labor and material to rebuild your home back to its original condition prior to an insurance claim.
Learn more about home replacement cost.
In addition to standard homeowners policy, your insurance company may offer additional coverages to supplement your policy.
Optional coverages are designed mainly for two purposes:
- Offer extra financial protection for the specific things that you own.
- Minimize risk exposure in specific scenarios that you might experience.
Some optional coverages may be added on and taken off to cover a temporary need while others may be required to stay on the entire policy term.
Learn more about Optional Coverages For Homeowners Insurance.
Additional Insurance Beyond Homeowners Insurance
There are two natural disasters that are commonly excluded in your standard homeowners insurance policy:
Unlike homeowners insurance, earthquake insurance is not required by mortgage lenders. For this reason, many homeowners may forgo earthquake insurance because of the additional premium.
Learn more about earth quake insurance.
For most homes, flood insurance is optional and is not required by mortgage lenders. However, if your home is in a flood zone, your lender will require additional flood insurance to cover the potential risk.
Flood insurance is offered through a government backed programcalled National Flood Insurance Program as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency or more commonly known as FEMA.
Learn more about flood insurance.
What affects homeowners insurance premiums?
Similar to how banks use various elements to determine credit worthiness of a borrower and interest rate of a loan, insurance companies utilize several factors to determine insurance premium for a customer’s policy.
There are four main categories of factors
What information do I need to submit to get an insurance quote?
Average time to process a quote may take anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes. In most situations, your insurance agent will be able to go over details of your coverages and different options available within an hour of the initial phone call.
In order to get an accurate homeowners insurance quote, your insurance agent will request for the following information:
- Your full legal name. If applicable, your spouse’s full legal name.
- Your date of birth. If applicable, your spouse’s dates of birth.
- Your current home address. Previous home address is required if you have only resided in the current address for less than 2 years.
- Driver license. Some companies may require your driver license numbers.
- Year the home was built.
- Approximate square footage.
- Approximate age of your roof.
- Number of home insurance claims in the past three years.