Home insurance resources

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.

Pat Howard 1600

By

Pat Howard

Pat Howard

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

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Homeowners insurance basics

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.

Homeowners insurance coverage types

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

Levels of coverage

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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State insurance departments

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

State FAIR Plans

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

How to contact your insurance company

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.

How to access your CLUE report

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.

You can request a copy of your CLUE report here.

Frequently asked questions

How do I find out how much coverage I have?

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.

What is a deductible?

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.

How much does homeowners insurance cost?

The average cost of homeowners insurance in the U.S. is $1,899 per year or $158 a month, according to our analysis of 2022 home insurance rate data across the country.

Author

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

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Pat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

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