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

Property and Casualty Insurance Expert

Pat Howard is a senior editor at Policygenius specializing in property and casualty insurance. His work has been featured on Property Casualty 360, Fatherly, MarketWatch, and more.

Published April 1, 2021|4 min read

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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 websiteAddressPhone
Alabama201 Monroe St., Suite 502 Montgomery, AL 36104334-269-3550
Alaska550 W. 7th Ave., Suite 1560 Anchorage, AK 99501-3567907-269-7900
Arizona100 N 15th Ave., Suite 261 Phoenix, AZ 85007-2630602-364-3100
Arkansas1 Commerce Way, Little Rock, AR 72202501-371-2640
California300 S Spring St., 14th Floor Los Angeles, CA 90013800-927-4357
Colorado1560 Broadway, Suite 850 Denver, CO 80202303-894-7499
ConnecticutP.O. Box 816 Hartford, CT 06142-0816860-297-3900
Delaware1351 W North St., Suite 101 Dover, DE 19904302-674-7300
District of Columbia1050 First St. NE, Suite 801 Washington, D.C. 20002202-727-8000
FloridaThe Larsen Building, 200 E Gaines St. Tallahassee, FL 32399-0301850-413-3140
Georgia2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., West Tower, Suite 702 Atlanta, GA 30334404-656-2070
Guam1240 Army Dr. Barrigada, Guam 96913671-633-2643
HawaiiP.O. Box 3614 Honolulu, HI 96811808-586-2790
Idaho700 W State St., P.O. Box 83720 Boise, ID 83720-0043208-334-4250
Illinois320 W Washington St. Springfield, IL 62767-0001217-782-4515
Indiana311 W Washington St., Suite 300 Indianapolis, IN 46204-2787317-232-2385
Iowa1963 Bell Ave., Suite 100 Des Moines, IA 50315515-654-6600
Kansas1300 SW Arrowhead Rd. Topeka, KS 66604-4073785-296-3071
Kentucky500 Mero St, 2 SE 11 Frankfort, KY 40601502-564-3630
LouisianaP.O. Box 94214 Baton Rouge, LA 70804225-342-5900; 800-259-5300 (In state)
Maine34 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333-0034207-624-8475; 800-300-5000 (In state)
Maryland200 St. Paul Pl., Suite 2700 Baltimore, MD 21202410-468-2000
Massachusetts1000 Washington St., Suite 810 Boston, MA 02118617-521-7794; 877-563-4467 (In state)
MichiganP.O. Box 30220 Lansing, MI 48909- 7720517-284-8800
Minnesota85 7th Pl. E, Suite 280 St. Paul, MN 55101651-539-1500; 800-657-3602 (In state)
MississippiP.O. Box 79 Jackson, MS 39205-0079601-359-3569
MissouriP.O. Box 690 Jefferson City, MO 65102-0690573-751-4126
Montana840 Helena Ave. Helena, MT 59601406-444-2040; 800-332-6148 (In state)
NebraskaP.O. Box 82089 Lincoln, NE 68501-2089402-471-2201
Nevada1818 E College Pkwy., Suite 103 Carson City, NE 89706775-687-0700
New Hampshire21 S Fruit Street, Suite 14 Concord, NH 03301603-271-2261
New JerseyP.O. Box 471 Trenton, NJ 08625-0471609-292-7272; 800-446-7467
New MexicoP.O. Box 1689 Santa Fe, NM 87504-1689505-827-4549; 855-427-5674 (In state)
New York1 State St. New York, NY 10004-1511212-480-6400
North Carolina1201 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699-1201855-408-1212
North Dakota600 E Boulevard Ave. Bismarck, ND 58505-0320701-328-2440
Ohio50 W Town St., Suite 300 Columbus, OH 43215800-686-1526
Oklahoma400 NE 50th St.Oklahoma City, OK 73105405-521-2828; 800-522-0071 (In state)
Oregon350 Winter St. NE, P.O. Box 14480 Salem, OR 97309-0405503-378-4100; 888-877-4894 (In state)
Pennsylvania1326 Strawberry Sq. Harrisburg, PA 17120717-783-3898;877-881-6388
Puerto RicoWorld Plaza Building, 268 Luis Muñoz Rivera Ave. San Juan, PR 00918787-304-8686; 888-722-8686
Rhode Island1511 Pontiac Ave. Cranston, RI 02920401-462-9520
South Carolina1201 Main St., Suite 1000 Columbia, SC 29201803-737-6160
South Dakota124 South Euclid Ave., 2nd Floor Pierre, SD 57501605-773-3563
Tennessee500 James Robertson Pkwy., Davy Crockett Tower Nashville, TN 37243-0565615-741-2241
TexasP.O. Box 149104 Austin, TX 78714-9104800-252-34394
UtahState Office Building, Suite 3110, 350 N State St. Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6901801-538-3800
Vermont89 Main St. Montpelier, VT 05620-3101802-828-3301
U.S. Virgin Islands5049 Kongens Gade St. Thomas, Virgin Islands 00802340-774-2991
VirginiaP.O. Box 1197 Richmond, VA 23218804-371-9733
Washington5000 Capitol Blvd., SE Tumwater, WA 98501360-725-7080
West VirginiaP.O. Box 50540 Charleston, WV 25305-0540304-558-4965
Wisconsin125 S Webster St. Madison, WI 53703-3474608-266-3585; 800-236-8517 (In state)
Wyoming106 E 6th Ave. Cheyenne, WY 82001307-777-7401; 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 PlansPhone number
Alabama Insurance Underwriting Association334-943-4029
California FAIR Plan Association213-487-0111
Connecticut FAIR Plan860-528-9546
Insurance Placement Facility of Delaware215-629-8800
District of Columbia Property Insurance Facility202-393-4640
Citizens Insurance Corporation (Florida FAIR Plan)904-296-6105
Georgia Underwriting Association770-923-7431
Hawaii Property Insurance Association808-531-1311
Illinois FAIR Plan Association312-861-0385
Indiana Basic Property Insurance Underwriting Association317-264-2310
Iowa FAIR Plan Association515-255-9531
Kansas All-Industry Placement Facility785-271-2300
Kentucky FAIR Plan Reinsurance Association502-425-9998
Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation504-831-6930
Maryland Joint Insurance Association410-539-6808
Massachusetts Property Insurance Underwriting Association617-723-3800
Michigan Basic Property Insurance Association313-877-7400
Minnesota FAIR Plan612-338-7584
Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association601-981-2915
Missouri Property Insurance Placement Facility314-421-0170
New Jersey Insurance Underwriting Association973-622-3838
New Mexico Property Insurance Program505-878-9563
New York Property Insurance Underwriting Association212-208-9700
North Carolina Joint Underwriting Association (FAIR Plan)(919) 821-1299
Ohio FAIR Plan Underwriting Association614-839-6446
Oregon FAIR Plan Association503-643-5448
Insurance Placement Facility of Pennsylvania215-629-8800
Rhode Island Joint Reinsurance Association617-723-3800
South Carolina Wind and Hail Underwriting Association803-737-6180
Texas FAIR Plan Association800-979-6440
Texas Windstorm Insurance Association512-899-4900
Virginia Property Insurance Association804-358-0416
Washington FAIR Plan425-745-9808
West Virginia Essential Property Insurance Assocation215-629-8800
Wisconsin Insurance Plan414-291-5353

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.

Click here to request a copy of your CLUE report. 

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 annual homeowners insurance premium is $1,211, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

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