All homeowners insurance policies have basic coverages which are outlined below. There are certain perils, or causes of loss, that will be covered in your policy. The basic perils included in all policies are fire, lightning, windstorm and hail. Homeowners insurance varies from state to state on the specific coverages and exclusions that it contains. For this reason, it is important that you read your policy carefully and work with an agent to help identify any gaps.
Dwelling – Every policy will cover the dwelling, or your home, for an amount that you and your agent agree on. The valuation of the dwelling is important when it comes time to report a claim because you want to make sure you have enough coverage. You can cover your home at replacement cost which will replace the home with like kind and quality, or actual cash value which in simple terms is replacement cost minus depreciation. When it comes to a roof claim replacement cost is going to be your better option because if you only have a partial loss, the depreciation could hurt you.
Other Structures – This covers any other structures on the property, set apart by clear space from the dwelling, at 10% of the amount of the dwelling. So if you have a small shed or garage, you don’t have to pay extra to have it covered. The covered causes of loss may be different here.
Personal Property – This is going to cover your personal belongings that are inside the home. A simple way to think of this is if you turned your house upside down, anything that would fall out is covered under this section. Again, be sure to read your policy carefully as the causes of loss may be different than the other sections.
Loss of Use – If your home was damaged by a covered cause of loss and it is not livable, this coverage will pay for your additional living expenses until the home is repaired. For example, a hotel would be a short-term solution, or if you know it will be a few months you could do a short-term rental as well.
Personal Liability – This is coverage provided for a claim or suit brought against you for which you are legally liable. It includes bodily injury, property damage, prejudgment interest, and defense costs.
Medical Payments – Medical payments coverage is for any necessary medical payments that have occurred on your premises. Some policies also offer off your premises coverage.
This article goes over a very basic outline of what is covered on your homeowners insurance policy. With all of the above coverages there are different causes of loss, various items included, and items excluded. In addition to that, there are some additional coverages provided by all policies that could give you some extra bells and whistles you may never even know you have. We cannot stress enough the importance of reading your policy carefully and working with an agent to make sure your home is covered adequately.