More on Home Insurance
More on Home Insurance
Your guide to the basics of home insurance, contact information for your state’s insurance department, what to do if you can’t find coverage, and how to access your claims history.
Homeowners insurance provides financial protection in the event your home and belongings are damaged or burglarized. It also covers personal liability expenses if you’re held liable for another person’s injury or damage to their property.
There are several types of homeowners insurance, but by far the most popular policy is the HO-3. This is among the most comprehensive policy types out there, covering your home and personal belongings against 16 covered disasters or perils, including fire, lightning, windstorms, theft, and vandalism. It’s important to note that damage from flooding and earthquakes is not covered under standard homeowners insurance — you’ll need separate flood and earthquake insurance policies to cover your property against those catastrophes.
Here is a brief summary of the different coverages in a standard homeowners insurance policy:
Dwelling coverage - Pays for damage to the home itself, including its roof, foundation, built-in appliances, cabinets, and any attached structures
Other structures coverage - Pays for damage to detached structures on your property, like your garage, shed, or fence
Personal property coverage - Covers the value of damaged or stolen personal belongings, including furniture, jewelry, electronics, and clothing
Loss of use coverage - If you’re forced to stay elsewhere due to a covered loss, this coverage pays for things like hotel stays, meals and any other additional living expenses
Liability coverage - Covers legal and medical expenses in the event you or a family member accidentally injure someone or cause damage to their property
Medical payments coverage - Covers medical bills if a guest sustains a minor injury on your property
The amount that you’re paid out for damage or loss to your home and personal belongings will depend on the level of coverage you have for the respective components in your policy, also known as your policy’s loss settlement provisions .
1. Actual cash value - This type coverage pays out the depreciated value of your home or personal belongings. In a standard HO-3 policy, personal property is usually covered at its actual cash value, but you have the option to upgrade to replacement cost value for an additional cost.
2. Replacement cost value - This type of coverage pays out the replacement value of your home and personal belongings without deducting for depreciation. In an HO-3 policy, your home’s structure is automatically covered at its replacement cost.
3. Extended or guaranteed replacement cost - This type of coverage pays out an additional amount if the loss exceeds the coverage limit in your policy. Most extended replacement cost coverage options will increase your policy coverage limit an additional 25% or 50%. That means if your home is insured for $300,000 with 25% extended replacement cost, you have an additional $75,000 in protection in the event the loss is greater than your home’s coverage limit.
A guaranteed replacement cost policy simply pays out whatever it costs to rebuild your home to the way it was before it was destroyed, regardless of the price. Both extended and guaranteed replacement cost are more expensive than standard coverage, but they offer the best protection against natural disasters.
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Every U.S. state and commonwealth has its own insurance department that provides tools and resources for insurance companies and policyholders alike. If you’re moving to a new state and curious about which home insurance companies are available, or which hazards to be aware of when setting up your policy, or any lingering questions about home insurance, be sure to check out your state’s insurance department website.
Below are the websites, addresses, and phone numbers of each state’s insurance department.
|State and website||Address||Phone|
|Alabama||201 Monroe St., Suite 502 Montgomery, AL 36104||334-269-3550|
|Alaska||550 W. 7th Ave., Suite 1560 Anchorage, AK 99501-3567||907-269-7900|
|Arizona||100 N 15th Ave., Suite 261 Phoenix, AZ 85007-2630||602-364-3100|
|Arkansas||1 Commerce Way, Little Rock, AR 72202||501-371-2640|
|California||300 S Spring St., 14th Floor Los Angeles, CA 90013||800-927-4357|
|Colorado||1560 Broadway, Suite 850 Denver, CO 80202||303-894-7499|
|Connecticut||P.O. Box 816 Hartford, CT 06142-0816||860-297-3900|
|Delaware||1351 W North St., Suite 101 Dover, DE 19904||302-674-7300|
|District of Columbia||1050 First St. NE, Suite 801 Washington, D.C. 20002||202-727-8000|
|Florida||The Larsen Building, 200 E Gaines St. Tallahassee, FL 32399-0301||850-413-3140|
|Georgia||2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., West Tower, Suite 702 Atlanta, GA 30334||404-656-2070|
|Guam||1240 Army Dr. Barrigada, Guam 96913||671-633-2643|
|Hawaii||P.O. Box 3614 Honolulu, HI 96811||808-586-2790|
|Idaho||700 W State St., P.O. Box 83720 Boise, ID 83720-0043||208-334-4250|
|Illinois||320 W Washington St. Springfield, IL 62767-0001||217-782-4515|
|Indiana||311 W Washington St., Suite 300 Indianapolis, IN 46204-2787||317-232-2385|
|Iowa||1963 Bell Ave., Suite 100 Des Moines, IA 50315||515-654-6600|
|Kansas||1300 SW Arrowhead Rd. Topeka, KS 66604-4073||785-296-3071|
|Kentucky||500 Mero St, 2 SE 11 Frankfort, KY 40601||502-564-3630|
|Louisiana||P.O. Box 94214 Baton Rouge, LA 70804||225-342-5900; 800-259-5300 (In state)|
|Maine||34 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333-0034||207-624-8475; 800-300-5000 (In state)|
|Maryland||200 St. Paul Pl., Suite 2700 Baltimore, MD 21202||410-468-2000|
|Massachusetts||1000 Washington St., Suite 810 Boston, MA 02118||617-521-7794; 877-563-4467 (In state)|
|Michigan||P.O. Box 30220 Lansing, MI 48909- 7720||517-284-8800|
|Minnesota||85 7th Pl. E, Suite 280 St. Paul, MN 55101||651-539-1500; 800-657-3602 (In state)|
|Mississippi||P.O. Box 79 Jackson, MS 39205-0079||601-359-3569|
|Missouri||P.O. Box 690 Jefferson City, MO 65102-0690||573-751-4126|
|Montana||840 Helena Ave. Helena, MT 59601||406-444-2040; 800-332-6148 (In state)|
|Nebraska||P.O. Box 82089 Lincoln, NE 68501-2089||402-471-2201|
|Nevada||1818 E College Pkwy., Suite 103 Carson City, NE 89706||775-687-0700|
|New Hampshire||21 S Fruit Street, Suite 14 Concord, NH 03301||603-271-2261|
|New Jersey||P.O. Box 471 Trenton, NJ 08625-0471||609-292-7272; 800-446-7467|
|New Mexico||P.O. Box 1689 Santa Fe, NM 87504-1689||505-827-4549; 855-427-5674 (In state)|
|New York||1 State St. New York, NY 10004-1511||212-480-6400|
|North Carolina||1201 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699-1201||855-408-1212|
|North Dakota||600 E Boulevard Ave. Bismarck, ND 58505-0320||701-328-2440|
|Ohio||50 W Town St., Suite 300 Columbus, OH 43215||800-686-1526|
|Oklahoma||400 NE 50th St.Oklahoma City, OK 73105||405-521-2828; 800-522-0071 (In state)|
|Oregon||350 Winter St. NE, P.O. Box 14480 Salem, OR 97309-0405||503-378-4100; 888-877-4894 (In state)|
|Pennsylvania||1326 Strawberry Sq. Harrisburg, PA 17120||717-783-3898;877-881-6388|
|Puerto Rico||World Plaza Building, 268 Luis Muñoz Rivera Ave. San Juan, PR 00918||787-304-8686; 888-722-8686|
|Rhode Island||1511 Pontiac Ave. Cranston, RI 02920||401-462-9520|
|South Carolina||1201 Main St., Suite 1000 Columbia, SC 29201||803-737-6160|
|South Dakota||124 South Euclid Ave., 2nd Floor Pierre, SD 57501||605-773-3563|
|Tennessee||500 James Robertson Pkwy., Davy Crockett Tower Nashville, TN 37243-0565||615-741-2241|
|Texas||P.O. Box 149104 Austin, TX 78714-9104||800-252-34394|
|Utah||State Office Building, Suite 3110, 350 N State St. Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6901||801-538-3800|
|Vermont||89 Main St. Montpelier, VT 05620-3101||802-828-3301|
|U.S. Virgin Islands||5049 Kongens Gade St. Thomas, Virgin Islands 00802||340-774-2991|
|Virginia||P.O. Box 1197 Richmond, VA 23218||804-371-9733|
|Washington||5000 Capitol Blvd., SE Tumwater, WA 98501||360-725-7080|
|West Virginia||P.O. Box 50540 Charleston, WV 25305-0540||304-558-4965|
|Wisconsin||125 S Webster St. Madison, WI 53703-3474||608-266-3585; 800-236-8517 (In state)|
|Wyoming||106 E 6th Ave. Cheyenne, WY 82001||307-777-7401; 800-438-5768|
If your home is at heightened risk of wildfire or tropical storm damage, or you filed one too many claims in a short period of time, it may be difficult to find an insurance company that will insure your home. If you find yourself getting rejected by standard insurers, look into a Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan in your state.
FAIR plans typically cost more and provide less coverage than standard homeowners insurance, but this policy is essential if your other options are limited or nonexistent. If you need coverage to satisfy your mortgage lender requirements, FAIR Plans are a good temporary option.
Currently, 33 states and the District of Columbia offer at least some version of a FAIR Plan. We included the website and phone number to each one below.
|State FAIR Plans||Phone number|
|Alabama Insurance Underwriting Association||334-943-4029|
|California FAIR Plan Association||213-487-0111|
|Connecticut FAIR Plan||860-528-9546|
|Insurance Placement Facility of Delaware||215-629-8800|
|District of Columbia Property Insurance Facility||202-393-4640|
|Citizens Insurance Corporation (Florida FAIR Plan)||904-296-6105|
|Georgia Underwriting Association||770-923-7431|
|Hawaii Property Insurance Association||808-531-1311|
|Illinois FAIR Plan Association||312-861-0385|
|Indiana Basic Property Insurance Underwriting Association||317-264-2310|
|Iowa FAIR Plan Association||515-255-9531|
|Kansas All-Industry Placement Facility||785-271-2300|
|Kentucky FAIR Plan Reinsurance Association||502-425-9998|
|Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation||504-831-6930|
|Maryland Joint Insurance Association||410-539-6808|
|Massachusetts Property Insurance Underwriting Association||617-723-3800|
|Michigan Basic Property Insurance Association||313-877-7400|
|Minnesota FAIR Plan||612-338-7584|
|Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association||601-981-2915|
|Missouri Property Insurance Placement Facility||314-421-0170|
|New Jersey Insurance Underwriting Association||973-622-3838|
|New Mexico Property Insurance Program||505-878-9563|
|New York Property Insurance Underwriting Association||212-208-9700|
|North Carolina Joint Underwriting Association (FAIR Plan)||(919) 821-1299|
|Ohio FAIR Plan Underwriting Association||614-839-6446|
|Oregon FAIR Plan Association||503-643-5448|
|Insurance Placement Facility of Pennsylvania||215-629-8800|
|Rhode Island Joint Reinsurance Association||617-723-3800|
|South Carolina Wind and Hail Underwriting Association||803-737-6180|
|Texas FAIR Plan Association||800-979-6440|
|Texas Windstorm Insurance Association||512-899-4900|
|Virginia Property Insurance Association||804-358-0416|
|Washington FAIR Plan||425-745-9808|
|West Virginia Essential Property Insurance Assocation||215-629-8800|
|Wisconsin Insurance Plan||414-291-5353|
At some point, you may need to contact your insurance company to make policy changes, cancel or add a line of coverage, or to file a homeowners insurance claim. Most major insurance companies, like Allstate, State Farm, and Travelers let you do all of this through their website or through a mobile app.
For larger or more urgent claims, it might be to your advantage to call the insurer directly to make sure your case is being handled as soon as possible. Most insurers have a 24/7 claims hotline that you can dial at any hour of the day.
The Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, or CLUE, is a claims history database run by LexisNexis, a business research and risk-management company. Through LexisNexis, home and auto insurance companies are able to access consumers’ claim history when underwriting or rating an insurance policy.
Also known as a loss history report, your CLUE report includes information like your name, date of birth, policy number, and your prior insurance claim history (such as the date of loss, type of loss, and payout). Information like your credit score, criminal record, and legal judgements are not included in your CLUE report. The database stores up to seven years of claim information — after that, your claims record is wiped clean.
You can also request a copy of your own CLUE report from LexisNexis free of charge, if you so choose. If you find false information, like a claim you never filed or an incorrect payment amount, you can contact LexisNexis and report the error to get it resolved. You can also add explanations or notes to your report, if you feel a specific claim or incident in the report deserves further context.
Click here to request a copy of your CLUE report.
To find out how much coverage you have for each section of your policy, check your policy declaration’s page. Your dec page also includes information like your policy number, deductible amount, and average annual premium. To access your dec page, contact your insurance agent. It may also be viewable through your insurer’s website or mobile app.
A deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket on a claim before your insurance company will pay out for a loss. Take for instance a claim settlement of $10,000. If your policy deductible is $1,000, you’ll need to pay that before your insurer will cover the remaining $9,000 of the loss.
The average annual homeowners insurance premium is $1,211, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.