Homeowner Coverage Guide
Dwelling coverage protects your house and any structures attached to your home, like the garage and the screened porch. Materials on your property that are being used to expand or repair the house — the lumber being used to add another wing, for example, would also be covered.
Separate structures on your property — like utility sheds, guest houses, gazebos and pool houses — are covered under other structures coverage. Dwelling coverage in a homeowner's policy only protects your house and attached structures.
This part of your homeowner's policy protects your belongings anywhere in the world, but there are a few limitations you should know about:
Personal Property Exclusions and Limitations
- There are restrictions on the amount a standard homeowner's policy will pay on some items — jewelry or furs, for example (you can buy additional coverage for them separately).
- The standard reimbursement for items that are damaged, lost, or stolen is their actual cash value — (original value minus depreciation). If you want to be reimbursed for what it will cost to replace them, select the replacement cost option.
- Although the policy covers your possessions everywhere, it pays less for losses incurred off your property. For example, a homeowner's policy might pay only 10% of its usual limit for loss on an item that your child took away to college.
There are some important exclusions and limitations on the coverage for personal property. A homeowner's policy does not cover:
- Software or disks
- Animals, birds, or fish
- Motor vehicles
- Aircraft and aircraft parts
- Property of persons who are your tenants, unless they are related to you
- Paper records, drawings, account books
Coverage for other personal items is also limited. It is important to read the list of exclusions and limitations on your individual policy. You may want to purchase additional insurance for items you own that have only limited coverage in a homeowner's policy.
All homeowners policies provide essentially the same coverage for loss of use. Loss of use provides protection for such things as additional living expenses related to maintaining the normal standard of living of the household after a loss.
Liability insurance covers you for money you are legally obligated to pay because a court has found that you were responsible for damage to another person's property. Personal liability insurance applies separately to each insured, but total liability coverage resulting from any one occurrence may not exceed the coverage limit stated in the policy.
Medical payments insurance is homeowner's coverage that compensates others who sustain an injury while on your property, or whom you injure accidentally. (Like a delivery boy who slips on a banana peel in your kitchen, or a guest your child accidentally hits with a badly pitched ball.) This coverage excludes the people who live in your house.