Homeowners’ insurance – basics


Homeowners’ insurance compensates you for losses to your home and your possessions inside it. So buying a homeowners’ insurance policy provides added security. Homeowners’ insurance also protects you if you’re legally liable for someone’s injuries on your property.

Different companies offer different homeowners’ insurance coverages. So choosing the right policy means finding the right mix of coverages to meet your needs.

Generally, a standard insurance policy for homeowners offers protection of the following:

  • The physical structure of your home
  • Structures on your property (storage sheds, pools, boathouses, etc.)
  • Your personal property and belongings inside your home, up to specified limits
  • Your liability or legal responsibility for any injuries and property damage you or your family members cause to other people
  • Injuries to your household pets while inside your home
  • Additional living expenses if a fire or other insured disaster leaves you temporarily unable to live in your home.

Often, for an additional fee, you can select optional homeowners’ insurance coverages, including:

  • Higher limits of liability for property damage or bodily injury
  • Replacement cost for personal property
  • Protection for valuables (jewelry, watches, fur, etc.)
  • Additional coverage for electronics or computer equipment.

To make shopping for the right homeowners’ insurance policy easier, take an inventory of what you own to decide what level of coverage makes you comfortable. Once you know your coverage level, get a homeowners’ insurance quote and choose the policy that’s right for you.

Homeowners’ insurance is designed to protect your home from what is called “perils.” A peril is your exposure to risk or something that causes loss or destruction. As a homeowner, you can typically purchase three different types of home insurance policies

Types of Perils

  • Fire or lightning
  • Loss of property on premises due to fire or other perils
  • Vehicles
  • Windstorm or hail
  • Smoke
  • Explosions
  • Theft
  • Vandalism and malicious mischief
  • Riot or civil commotion
  • Aircraft
  • Breakage of glass constituting part of the building
  • Collapse of building(s)
  • Weight of ice, snow or sleet
  • Freezing of plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems and domestic appliances
  • Falling Objects
  • Accidental discharge, leakage or overflow of water or steam from within a plumbing, heating or air conditioning system or domestic appliance
  • Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning or bulging of a steam or hot water heating system or of appliances for heating water
  • Sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated currents to electrical appliances, devices, fixtures and wiring
  • All perils except for flood, earthquake, war, nuclear accident. (Check your policy for complete list of perils.)
  • Coverage for jewelry, art, antiques, etc. May also include coverage for building code upgrades and sewer backups.

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