If you own your own home, you need to protect your investment by properly insuring it. And if you have a mortgage, your lender will require it to protect their investment. To get the most out of your property insurance, you have to understand how it works and what it covers.
What is it?
Home insurance is a type of insurance known as property/casualty insurance. It covers your home against a number of named perils, including wind and hail damage, fire damage and theft. It also provides personal liability insurance that protects you from incidents such as a dog biting a visitor, or someone injuring themselves while on your property.
Who is it for?
Anyone who owns a home and lives in it either full- or part-time needs a homeowners policy. For those who own a home but rent it out to tenants, there is different coverage available. If you live in a home that you rent, you need renters insurance rather than a homeowners policy.
How does it work?
A homeowners policy covers you for perils which are named in the policy. If your home is damaged by weather, fire or some other covered event, you must make a claim with your insurer. Depending on your policy and the event, your insurer might issue you a check for the estimated cost of the damage minus the deductible you owe, or it might require you to to get estimates and have your contractor submit bills directly to the insurer.
Homeowners insurance policies are pretty standard. Most cover certain types of damage, such as wind, hail and fire, and exclude damage from things like floods and earthquakes. Some policies have special exclusions and some may cover more potential liability issues than others.
The main benefit of having a homeowners policy is the financial protection it provides against the possibility of your home being damaged or destroyed. An additional benefit is the personal liability coverage it provides to guard you against certain lawsuits for incidents that may happen on or off your property.