Homeowner's insurance is an important piece of the home ownership puzzle. Because almost all mortgage lenders require proof of insurance, having a policy is more of a necessity than an option. However, many potential homeowners aren't clear about what a homeowner's insurance policy covers. While each policy is customizable and has varying details depending on the insurer, there are a few basic commonalities to remember:
A homeowner's insurance policy will compensate you financially for damage to your house. Damage from fire, lightning, hurricanes, vandalism and other disasters are typically included in a basic homeowner's insurance policy. However, they usually don't include flood damage, earthquakes or damage from poor home maintenance. These other situations require additional customization or even separate policies depending on where you live.
The personal contents of your home are also covered by homeowner's insurance if lost in a disaster. While this can certainly help recoup losses from damaged appliances, clothing, furniture and other belongings, there's usually a dollar limit on how much the insurer will cover.
Personal liability coverage helps protect you from lawsuits filed by other people. It covers everyone in the household, including your pets. This helps you avoid paying the bill for accidents suffered on your property in case the other party decides to sue. This part of your policy usually comes with a cap you can increase by paying a higher premium.
Part of your homeowner's insurance policy includes "additional living expenses" which can pay for a hotel or house rental if your home needs to be repaired or rebuilt. This part of the coverage will reimburse you for rent, hotel rooms, restaurant meals and other costs you might incur while waiting for your home to return to a habitable state. Additional living expenses covered by insurance have a daily limit you can increase by paying more for your coverage.
As with any type of insurance, homeowner's insurance is different from one policy and provider to the next. However, keep these basic things in mind as a place to start when looking deeper into your options.