Your home was a major investment. Purchasing a comprehensive homeowners insurance policy is vital to protecting that investment.
Not only can homeowners insurance safeguard you (and your finances) should something go wrong on your property, but it’s also required by most mortgage lenders.
Still, a standard homeowners policy won’t cover everything. There may be some cases when you’ll want to add to that coverage to ensure you’re protected.
Not sure if you need additional insurance?
Here’s what’s generally covered by homeowners insurance – and what’s not.
Homeowners insurance covers certain types of damage that occur to the property, whether it’s due to vandalism, bad weather, or a wildfire (but not flooding – more on that later). Your homeowners insurance policy will typically pay to repair the damage that was done or cover the costs to rebuild your property if necessary.
This is sometimes called dwelling coverage or dwelling protection.
It essentially covers anything built into your home — the foundation, the walls, the plumbing and electrical systems, the cabinets, and more (all the important stuff).
Many homeowners policies will also cover other structures you might have on your land, like a shed or a detached garage. Just like with your structure coverage, this will go toward repairing or replacing these structures should they experience damage.
Homeowners insurance doesn’t just cover the home itself, but what’s in the home, including your personal property and belongings.
That includes things like your electronics, furniture, clothes and more. If these are damaged in a fire, stolen by a burglar, or destroyed in some other way, your homeowners policy can step in and help.
There is a caveat, though. Most policies won’t cover really high-dollar items, like jewelry, art, collectibles, etc. If you want to ensure these are covered up to their full replacement value, you’ll usually want to purchase some sort of extended coverage.
If someone is hurt or their property is damaged while at your house, your homeowner’s insurance can help you there, too. This is called liability protection, and it can go toward the injured person’s medical bills (lost wages and other costs as well) or toward your legal costs if you end up facing legal action.
Here’s a good example: If your dog were to bite a guest while visiting your house, your homeowners insurance could help them pay for treatment or cover your attorney’s fees if they take you to court.
If your home needs rebuilding or major repairs, this coverage — also called loss of use coverage — helps cover your living expenses until your house can be lived in again. It can be used toward hotel costs or temporary rent, as well as other associated expenses.
Damage caused by general wear and tear won’t be covered by your insurance policy, nor will flood- or earthquake-related issues. To make sure you’re protected in those events, you’ll need a specific flood or earthquake insurance policy.
Here’s a quick look at what won’t be covered in a typical homeowners insurance policy:
If you’re not sure a standard homeowners insurance policy is going to be enough, talk with an insurance agent. They’ll be able to help you pinpoint the exact coverages you need in your area and talk through coverage amounts.
As with anything, rates on homeowners insurance can vary. Make sure you consider at least a few insurers and always get detailed quotes from each.
Compare coverages, premiums, discounts, and claims processes, and be sure you’re getting a policy that meets your needs and budget. You should also revisit your policy at least every two years to ensure you’re still getting the best rate.
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