Cost & Coverage
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Your homeowners insurance declaration page explains how much your policy costs and how much coverage you're getting for what you pay.
When you purchase homeowners insurance, you’re paying for coverage in the event your home or personal belongings are damaged. Home insurance may also cover your legal expenses if a guest is injured on your property and you’re held personally liable.
Each of these protections are described in your homeowners insurance policy. Your homeowners insurance declarations page, or dec sheet, is your policy’s invoice and usually the first page of your policy. It explains how much your homeowners insurance costs and how much coverage you’re getting for what you pay.
Read on to learn more about what’s included in your home insurance declarations page:
At the top of the declarations page, your homeowners insurance policy reference number will be listed; you’ll need your reference number whenever you file a claim.
The declaration sheet will also list the policy period, which is a span of months from the effective date to the expiration date. The dates will be written as a precise day, month, and year.
It will then detail all relevant parties to the policy, including:
The named insured: Usually, this will be you, but it could also include unmarried partners or people who aren’t blood relatives but live in your home. In order to be covered under your policy, unmarried partners or people who aren’t blood relatives need to be separately listed. Along with the named insured, your home address will also be listed.
The agent: The representative from your homeowners insurance company who manages your policy. Their company address and phone number may also be listed.
The carrier: Your homeowners insurance company. The policy dec page should also list their address and a number to reach them.
Your dec sheet may also list information about the home, such as:
Lastly, your declaration page may also indicate how you receive payouts for a covered loss. One option is for the actual cash value of an item, meaning its value minus depreciation. You may also choose the replacement (or reimbursement) provision, which lets you receive a payout equal to the current market value of the same or a similar item.
The premium is the amount you have to pay during the policy period to keep your homeowners insurance coverage in force. Your premium is determined by a number of factors, including your credit, age of home, location, proximity to fire stations, claims history, how much coverage you need, whether your home is eligible for certain discounts or not, and how high or low your policy deductible is.
The deductible is the amount you have to pay out of pocket when filing a homeowners insurance claim before the insurance company covers the rest. It will either be listed as a fixed amount, like $1,000, or a percentage, like 2% of your home’s insured value. Percentage deductibles are common in hurricane insurance policies, policies with wind and hail coverage, flood insurance, and earthquake insurance.
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The coverages are what you pay for when you buy a homeowners insurance policy. Your mortgage lender will specify to you and your agent exactly what kind of coverage you need.
In addition to listing the type of coverage, your dec sheet will also indicate the coverage limits of liability, which is the maximum amount the company will pay out for a claim under that part of the policy; if you have $300,000 in dwelling coverage, then that’s the maximum the company will pay you for damages to your home’s structure.
Homeowners insurance coverage includes:
Dwelling coverage: Covers your home’s structure and your roof.
Other structures coverage: Covers your garage, shed, deck, or pool.
Personal property coverage: Covers your personal belongings.
Loss-of-use coverage: Covers alternate living accommodations if you can no longer live in your home.
Personal liability coverage: Covers your legal expenses if someone is injured in your home and they sue.
Medical payments to others coverage: Covers your guest’s hospital bills if they get injured and require medical treatment.
Your dec sheet will also list any additional or optional coverage components in your home insurance policy. These will most likely increase your premiums slightly.
Depending on where you live and how thorough your mortgage lender is, certain “optional” coverages, like sewer backup coverage, may actually be required in order to satisfy mortgage terms if you live in, say, a floodplain.
Additional coverage that you may add to your policy depending are:
There’s also a discounts portion of the declarations page that lists any discounts applied to your monthly premiums. Some terms you’ll potentially see on your policy are:
Loss-free discounts: Rewards you for not filing excessive claims.
Deductible discounts: High deductibles lower your rates.
Protective devices: A discount that takes your security system and storm-proof windowing into consideration.
Bundling discounts: If you buy your car insurance and your homeowners insurance or renters insurance from the same company, you’ll typically get a discount for bundling your coverage together.
When you renew your homeowners insurance policy, you’ll be issued a new declarations sheet. All the information will be updated to reflect any changes to your policy, like a new premium and policy period, new discounts, increased or reduced coverage, any additional named insureds, and so on.
Homeowners insurance policy periods are typically 6 month to year-long terms. If you’re looking for a better rate, Policygenius can work with you to easily compare quotes from different carriers online. Be sure to have you declarations sheet on hand to quickly compare coverage.
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