Unless you're a licensed insurance agent, chances are you have some questions about home owners insurance before getting started.
General info about home insurance
What is home owners insurance?
Home insurance, also called homeowners insurance and home owner insurance, is a type of property insurance that covers privately owned homes. It protects you against damage to your home, the loss of use of your home, and loss of your personal belongings. It also provides liability insurance for accidents that may happen at your home or on your property.
To find the financial protection that fits your needs, start a free home owners quote
Why do I need home owners insurance?
You need home insurance to protect your house and your belongings against damage and loss, as well as to protect you financially if someone is injured in your home or on your property.
Am I required to have home insurance?
Though it varies from state to state, there's usually no law requiring home insurance (unlike car insurance).
If you borrow money to buy a house, however, the mortgage or deed of trust will require that you have enough insurance to cover the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home if it's damaged. In this case, your mortgage company will typically be named as "loss payee" on your policy. If your house is damaged, the insurance payment will go to the loan company (or to both you and the loan company) to ensure that the money is used to rebuild or repair the house. If you choose not to rebuild, the insurance payment will be applied directly to your loan.
Are floods and earthquakes covered on standard home insurance policies?
Typically, floods and earthquakes are not covered on standard policies, so if you live in a high-risk area, you should consider adding the necessary coverage. We'll be happy to help you get affordable flood insurance.
What's the difference between home insurance and renters insurance?
Renters insurance, also known as HO-4 insurance, is similar to home owners insurance in that it covers the possessions in your home or apartment against damage due to fire, smoke, lightning, theft, vandalism, explosion, windstorm, water, and other disasters listed in your policy. Unlike home owners insurance, however, renters insurance does not provide coverage for the structure of the home itself.
What happens if my home owners insurance is canceled?
If your home insurance coverage is canceled, you're entitled to a written explanation detailing the reasons why.
Your home owners policy may not be canceled based on age, gender, race, color, national origin, religion, marital status, disability, or geographic location. Cancellation may only be based on standard underwriting or actuarial principles, which the insurer can use to provide statistical evidence that your home represents greater risk of a loss than other homes the company agrees to insure.
If you think that your home insurance policy has been canceled unfairly, contact your insurance company and provide a written explanation of your reasons. If you don't receive a reply within 30 days or if the reply does not address your concerns adequately, contact your state insurance commissioner's office.
Home insurance costs and amount of coverage
How much does a home owners insurance policy cost?
Simply put, it depends. The cost of your home insurance policy is based mainly on what it would cost to replace your house, but any riders — additional items insured — you attach to the policy will be reflected in the price as well.
How much home insurance do I need?
You need enough insurance coverage to rebuild your house and replace its contents in the event of a total loss. You also want to protect yourself and your finances in case someone is injured on your property.
More specifically, the amount of home owners insurance you buy should be based on what it would cost to replace your home, and should include any additional items that you want to cover.
What is a home owners insurance calculator?
A home owners insurance calculator is a simple tool designed to help you estimate how much you'll pay for home owners insurance based on your ZIP Code and the square footage of your home. Home insurance calculators are readily available online, but keep in mind that the estimate you receive will be generic and not based on your specific circumstances.
Are all home owners insurance policies the same?
There are several types of home insurance. The most standard type of home owners policy, called HO-3 insurance, protects your home and other structures against all risks except those excluded by the policy — usually floods and earthquakes. An HO-6 insurance policy is designed for condominium owners.