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Homeowners insurance compensates you for losses to your home and your possessions inside it, so purchasing a homeowners insurance policy provides added security for your investment. Homeowners insurance also protects you if you're legally liable for someone's injuries on your property, as well as from financial losses caused by storms, fire, theft and other events outlined in your policy.
Different companies offer different homeowners insurance coverages, so choosing the right policy means finding the right mix of coverages to meet your needs.
Generally, a standard homeowners insurance policy protects the following:
•The physical structure of your home
•Structures on your property (storage sheds, pools, boathouses, etc.)
•Your personal property and belongings inside your home, up to specified limits
•Your liability or legal responsibility for any injuries and property damage you or your family members cause to other people
•Injuries to your household pets while inside your home
•Additional living expenses if a fire or other insured disaster leaves you temporarily unable to live in your home.
Often, for an additional fee, you can select optional homeowners insurance coverages, including:
•Higher limits of liability for property damage or bodily injury
•Replacement cost for personal property
•Protection for valuables (jewelry, watches, fur, etc.)
•Additional coverage for electronics or computer equipment.
To make shopping for the right homeowners insurance policy easier, take an inventory of what you own to decide what level of coverage makes you comfortable. Once you know your coverage level, get a homeowners insurance quote and choose the policy that's right for you.
The homeowners insurance terms and definitions listed below will help you understand what you're buying when you shop for homeowners insurance, condo insurance or renters insurance.
An evaluation of a home insurance property claim by an authorized person to determine property value or damaged property value.
The termination of a home insurance policy during the policy term. An insurance company can only cancel a home insurance policy for reasons stated in the policy and permitted under the law of the state in which the policyholder resides.
A policyholder's request for reimbursement from an insurance company under a home insurance policy for a loss to property.
The amount a home insurance policyholder must pay out of pocket for a covered claim.
The estimated decrease in property value over time due to wear and tear, aging and other related factors.
A provision or document added to a home insurance policy that changes the original coverage offered in the policy.
Certain property, persons or circumstances noted in a policy as not covered by a home insurance policy.
A home insurance policy sold through an employment-based group, association or special group insurance trust in which members are included under one master policy. Individuals receive certificates of coverage from the group policy.
An insurance agent or producer who represents more than one insurer.
A home insurance policy sold directly to an individual, often through direct mail or phone solicitation. Individual policies do not require people to be members of an employment-based group, association or special group insurance trust.
Automatically adjusts your home insurance policy limits to account for increases in costs to repair property.
A contract in which a policyholder pays a set amount to an insurance company for protection against specified losses or perils.
Occurs when a policyholder does not pay or pays less than the agreed amount for a home insurance policy premium. Often, termination of the policy results from a lapse.
Covers losses that an insured person is legally liable for due to negligence or other situations outlined in a home insurance policy.
The current value of your home, including the price of land.
An insurance company's decision not to renew a home insurance policy after the current term ends. Companies must appropriately notify policyholders prior to nonrenewing coverage.
The exposure to or cause of a possible loss, such as an injury, destroyed or lost property, etc.
All tangible property (other than land) that is either temporary or movable in some way, such as furniture, jewelry, electronics, etc.
A written contract for insurance between an insurer and a policyholder.
The price a home insurance company charges for a specified risk over a specified period of time.
Protects personal property and land against loss or damage, as outlined in a home insurance policy.
Land, as well as anything permanently attached to, embedded in or growing on it.
Pays for the cost to replace damaged property or structures without factoring in deductions for depreciation, but payment is limited to a maximum dollar amount.
Pays for the cost to replace damaged personal property or items at current costs without factoring in deductions for depreciation.
A specified amount that is less than the maximum limits on a home insurance policy. Sub-limits are noted for specified coverages or types of property.