While the dictionary defines the dwelling as a shelter or place you live in, a homeowners policy has a much broader definition. Learn the ins and outs of dwelling coverage, plus the amount of protection you may need to adequately cover your biggest investment.
what is dwelling coverage?
Dwelling coverage — known as Coverage A in most homeowners policies —financially protects your home's structure in the event it is damaged or destroyed by a covered risk like fire, hail windstorms, theft and vandalism, and much more. This coverage extends to fireplaces, rooms, carpeting, floors, the roof, and everything in between.
You probably think of your dwelling as solely the part of the property in which you dwell — and fair enough. But a standard home insurance policy defines your dwelling as the house itself, plus any structures that are attached to it. This may include everything from your front and back porches, to your deck and attached garage. It should be pointed out, however, that dwelling protection generally doesn't include fences, antennas, or satellite dishes — regardless whether or not they're attached to your house.
And while you probably don't dwell in the garage or live out on the porch (at least not on a regular basis), the dwelling coverage on your homeowners insurance could step in to help pay for repair or replacement costs if these structures suffer any damage due to a named peril.
how much dwelling coverage do i need?
Ideally, you want your insurer to cover the replacement cost of your house and its attached structures. For instance, if your house is leveled by a fire, you'd want to ensure your policy would be able to cover the rebuilding expenses at current construction costs. The cost to rebuild is not based on the current market value of your home, nor is it necessarily the same as the price you paid for it.
In order to get an accurate replacement cost value, you may want to have a reputable home appraiser or building contractor conduct a thorough evaluation of your home. During their inspection, they may factor in certain characteristics — such as, the square footage of the home, the style of the house (ranch or colonial, for example), whether parts of the house were custom-built, local construction costs, labor costs, and much more.
But ultimately, the coverage amount you set is entirely up to you. It's always a good idea to speak with your insurer about how much homeowners insurance coverage you need.
what might not be covered under dwelling protection
While your dwelling policy financially safeguards the structure of your home from accidental or sudden losses, not all perils are covered.
Most homeowners insurance policies don't cover damage that results from a basic maintenance issue that you're responsible for as the homeowner. If your home has had, say, a dry rot problem that has been overlooked for a while now, the financial responsibility would fall on you. Likewise, if your water heater cracks, your dwelling coverage probably won't help to replace it — but it might, however, help cover any damage to your floors and surrounding areas.
And generally, damage resulting from floods, ground movement (like earthquakes and sinkholes), and water backups are not included in your average home insurance policy either. The good news is, Esurance provides water backup coverage on standard homeowners insurance policies, which can help pay for damages caused by water moving from the ground up, like an overflowing drain or broken sump pump, for example. And for flood coverage, you can get a quote for reliable, affordable insurance through our trusted partner.
insuring unattached structures on your property
As you determine how much coverage you'll need for your dwelling, this may be a good opportunity to take stock of any unattached structures on your property. Even though these aren't included in your dwelling protection, unattached structures — such as a guest house, tool shed, swimming pool, or gazebo — are protected up to the limits you choose for other structures protection on your homeowners insurance policy.
Any damage to these structures is essentially covered the same way as damage to your dwelling. For example, if a tree topples onto your unattached garage, the other structures protection on your policy would help to cover the repair or replacement costs.
Furthermore, be sure to maintain a thorough home inventory of your personal possessions (like furniture, clothing, electronics, appliances, fancy rugs, and more) so that your personal property coverage on your homeowners policy can sufficiently cover all of your beloved belongings in case life ever takes a turn for the worse.
get your quick, free homeowners insurance quote from esurance
Of course, there's a lot to think about when it comes to homeowners insurance coverages and limits. Not only does a standard policy from Esurance financially safeguard your home and its contents, but it also extends to your personal liability and even pays for additional living expenses if a covered peril makes your home temporarily unlivable.
As a proud member of the Allstate family with an A+ rating from A.M. Best*, you can count on Esurance to be there for you when you need us most. You can check out all the perks we have to offer our policyholders when you get a fast, free homeowners insurance quote online, or by giving us a ring at 1-866-439-5633, where we're available at these times.
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