Different types of homeowners insurance policies

homeowners insurance guide

The marketplace for homeowners insurance is a very large. There are dozens of home insurance coverage types. Even a standard homeowners policy form will include many options that relate to higher or lower deductibles, different coverage limits, and a wide range of exclusions. Below is a complete guide of information for homeowners Insurance.

Homeowners insurance policy types are usually divided into eight distinct categories based on key elements of the contract and what is covered. The standard homeowners insurance policy is adapted to what the buyer needs and can afford. In addition to the standard form, home insurance policy types are specially designed for renters, condo dwellers, and more. The following points provide an abbreviated review of the different kinds of insurance policies for homeowners and renters:

  • Basic Form: Most Basic Form policies cover 10 things: lightning, explosions, fire, hail/wind, vandalism, theft, vehicle damage, aircraft damage, riots, and volcanoes.
  • Broad Form: This policy covers everything in the Basic Form, plus things like damage from ice and snow and falling objects.
  • Special Form: This is the most common policy type because it adds to the coverage provided by the Broad Form.
  • Tenant’s Form: Also known as renters insurance, it covers belongings.
  • Comprehensive Form: This coverage is much more extensive than the Basic Form but still has some exclusions, typically for earth movement, floods, and water damage.
  • Condo Form: This coverage is similar to renters insurance but a bit more extensive. The condo owners have their own policies to cover the general building.
  • Mobile Home Form: Similar to the Special Form but particularly adapted for manufactured homes, mobile homes, and other nontraditional structures.
  • Older Home Form: Similar to the Special Form but with added provisions for older structures.

The best quality home and contents insurance coverage can save consumers many thousands of dollars. A common question relates to adding flood insurance to a homeowners policy. A flood insurance homeowners policy is required if you live in a “designated flood zone.” Even if you don’t, the area might be susceptible to flooding. If so, you’ll want to get coverage. Please note that a flood insurance policy will not pay unless it has been in force for at least 90 days before a flood strikes.

A homeowner who wants to obtain a flood insurance program should contact the federal government to purchase a policy that can be added to a homeowners plan. To find out which program helps homeowners in flood hazard areas obtain insurance, check out FEMA.gov and read about the National Flood Insurance Program.

How to choose the best homeowners insurance policy using this guide?

homeowners insurance guide

Finding the highest quality home insurance is of paramount importance to property owners. It makes sense that the best quality home insurance policies are sold by the best quality home insurance companies. As mentioned in this homeowners insurance guide, if you want the best insurance, shop for the top insurance carriers in the business.

A good quality home insurance policy will have several measurable traits you should look for. First, the company selling the policy should be reputable within the insurance industry and among policyholders. That’s why choosing the best homeowners insurance policy begins with identifying the top carriers in your area.

The next step is to choose the best home insurance coverage based on your particular needs. It’s not enough to opt for a “typical” policy or one that only includes coverage limits required by your lender. The truth is choosing the right home insurance coverage takes time and effort.

After narrowing down your preferred carriers and figuring out whether you want the Basic Form, Broad Form, Special Form, or other type of policy, you need to decide on the deductible levels you are comfortable with. It’s also wise to phone each of your prospective carriers and ask a few questions to see how responsive their customer service department is.

Remember, when disaster strikes, you will need customer reps who know how to help you get in touch with your agent, help you locate temporary housing (if needed), and assist you with all the details that are commonplace after a property loss. In short, choosing high-quality home insurance is essential and should not be a decision made on price alone. There are a lot of moving pieces to the homeowners insurance business, and it helps to be informed and proactive when shopping for a policy to ensure you get a policy that meets your specific needs.

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Homeowners insurance benefits

homeowners insurance guide

Homeowners insurance offers multiple benefits. Property owners need financial protection against losses to a structure and the belongings stored on the property. What are the specific benefits of home insurance policies? Here are some of the key points to remember:

Owning a homeowners policy satisfies your lenders requirements for the mortgage. Not only do you need insurance for your homeowners mortgage requirement, you also want to make sure to have enough coverage to satisfy your own needs regarding types of coverage, policy limits, and policy exclusions. Meeting the minimum demands of the lender is a must, but in most cases, you’ll need and want more insurance then the bare legal minimum.

Another key benefit is financial protection against various kinds of storm damage, fire damage, and other losses. Homeowners insurance is the single most efficient and economical way to protect your financial interest in what is likely your biggest investment—your home.

Nowadays, the cost of technological appliances, for entertainment, security or any other purpose, can be quite high. You need insurance for your home appliances too, so don’t forget to check every policy for information related to that category. One of the important benefits of home insurance is its ability to reimburse you for the cost of your belongings.

Another benefit of home insurance is protection from legal liability. This advantage is often overlooked by first-time buyers but is an essential part of the home insurance package. In addition, a home insurance policy can assist you if you need to rent a temporary residence after a loss has occurred to your primary home. Many homeowners say that the number one benefit of a policy is peace of mind.

What are the different types of home insurance policy coverages?

homeowners insurance guide

Figuring out what the different levels and types of home insurance policy coverages can be complicated for people who are unfamiliar with the basic terminology. Don’t let it stop you from educating yourself about standard homeowners policy coverage.

You don’t need to be an expert or a licensed insurance agent to gain a decent understanding about homeowners insurance policy coverages and home insurance policy coverage in general. The goal of providing homeowners Insurance guide is to learn the exact level of homeowners insurance you need. It’s possible to be under-insured, which you want to avoid. Exactly how to do that takes some simple figuring.

Begin by realizing that standard homeowners insurance coverage does not always reimburse you for your entire financial setback in the event of a loss, even in the event of a covered loss. The key concept that comes into play is “dwelling coverage.” What is homeowners dwelling coverage and what are some of the related terminology and homeowners coverage definitions you should know? Here are the pertinent points that every current and prospective homeowner should understand about dwelling coverage and exactly what homeowners insurance covers:

Homeowners insurance dwelling coverage is the amount of money the insurance carrier will provide in the event of a total loss to your home. It is sometimes referred to in the insurance business as “Coverage A.” Almost every homeowners policy will clearly state the exact amount, in dollars, of the dwelling coverage. There are other homeowners insurance coverage types, however, the first concept to understand is standard dwelling coverage.

Understanding Dwelling Coverage/Coverage A

When it comes to essential insurance coverage homeowners usually know about Coverage A, but there are some common misconceptions. Coverage A does not necessarily pay to replace your home, even though the stated amount might have been designed to do so. Your reimbursement won’t be higher than the specific amount of dwelling coverage listed in your policy. Of course, if you suffer a partial loss of your home, from a small fire, for example, then the dwelling coverage might take care of the entire monetary loss.

If, however, your home is completely destroyed by a covered type of loss, Coverage A will pay the stated amount in your policy and no more. This often leaves homeowners to pay for the difference when construction costs are above the amount of the total dwelling coverage, or Coverage A. For essential insurance coverage, home insurance limits that are too low might lead to a financial burden.

Avoiding Being Under-Insured

There are a couple of ways homeowners can avoid the pitfall of being under-insured. If you lose your home in a fire, for example, and the dwelling coverage only accounts for 90 percent of the replacement cost, you’ll have to figure out a way to come up with the rest of the money if you want your home to be rebuilt. What are the options?

First, you could borrow the difference and pay the construction company to finish the job. For some homeowners who can get the financing, this is a viable, but not very attractive, option.

Second, you can rebuild a smaller home. This is problematic because construction estimates change as a job progresses and you often won’t know that there’s a shortfall until the work is nearly complete. If you can’t borrow the money, or don’t have it in savings at that point, you might be left without a place to live.

The solution is to opt for extended replacement cost (ERC) or guaranteed replacement cost (GRC) coverage in your homeowners policy. What are these forms of coverage? The names are only partially explanatory. Extended replacement cost (ERC) is a policy provision that will increase your premium amount. The good news is that in the event of a major loss, the provision will “extend” the amount of your dwelling coverage by either a fixed dollar amount or by a percentage of the original coverage.

For example, if your dwelling coverage is $350,000 and the ERC provision is 10 percent, you’ll have $385,000 in dwelling coverage if a loss occurs. That’s the original amount of $350,000, plus 10 percent. Note, however, that even in cases of extended replacement cost, you still may come up short after a disaster.

That’s where guaranteed replacement cost (GRC) insurance comes in handy. GRC provisions cost more than standard dwelling insurance and more than extended replacement cost policies. That’s because the insurance company is taking a sizable risk because no matter the cost to replace the structure, the carrier pays the bill.

Many homeowners opt for GRC coverage even though it costs more. There is no better way to get total peace of mind from dwelling coverage. Knowing your entire construction cost is fully covered means no sleepless nights worrying about the financial ramifications of a total loss of your home.

Calculating Replacement Cost

There are a lot of mathematical equations that attempt to calculate the cost to replace a dwelling. The problem is that the price of materials and labor continues to change from day to day, so no matter how intricate the formula is, it will ultimately either over- or under-estimate the replacement cost.

If you research insurance, you’ll no doubt come into contact with math equations that base replacement cost on a “dollars per square foot” figure. These amounts tend to be lower for standard homes than for custom-built homes, for obvious reasons. Custom-built homes can be significantly more costly than standard homes. One problem with mathematical approaches like these is that they treat all standard homes the same way and assign the same dollar value per square foot for replacement cost.

In the real world, after a home is destroyed by fire or a storm, the cost to rebuild it depends on factors like the strength of the local economy, the current price of labor in the region, the cost of raw materials, and other important components of a construction project. The only way to be assured that you can completely replace your home in the event of a loss is to opt for guaranteed replacement cost coverage.

Choosing Renters Insurance

Renters who get a homeowners policy, should choose coverage that provides the entire cost to replace their most important valuables. Keep in mind, you won’t be able to get higher insurance limits on sentimental items that are valuable to you but not to anyone else. If you are living in an apartment or home you do not own, you might want to get a homeowners policy to cover your personal belongings.

Speak with your agent to get a thorough explanation of renters insurance coverage. Then, you’ll know exactly how much the carrier will offer as a reimbursement if your items are stolen or damaged in a covered loss.

Understanding Market Value

Consumers sometimes get caught in the trap of using market value to determine or estimate what an insurance carrier will cover in the event of a loss. The reality is that market value almost never plays any role in insurance coverage for homes. That’s because carriers reimburse homeowners based on actual dollar amounts to rebuild or repair a home, not on market values.

If your home has a $400,000 dwelling policy in place and the market value went up drastically in the past year, the policy does not change. Perhaps the home is now worth $600,000. If a fire destroys the home, the carrier will be able to reimburse you an amount up to, but not exceeding, the set value of the policy—$400,000. The market value has nothing to do with the calculation because the policy states clearly what the maximum possible reimbursement will be if a covered loss occurs.

Home insurance exclusions & limits. What your policy will & won’t cover.

homeowners insurance guide

When searching for the right policy, it’s important to keep in mind that there are standard homeowners insurance limits that vary from state to state and from policy to policy. There is also another related area to be aware of: standard homeowners policy exclusions. Exclusions and limits are different but have a similar effect on the payout. However, exclusions are rather clear-cut categories that the policy does not cover and they’re usually stated explicitly in the contract. That means policy holders usually don’t have to guess about what is or is not an exclusion. Home insurance coverage limits will be clearly listed in the policy contract.


For example, a homeowners policy might state that “damage due to earthquakes is not covered by this policy.” That’s a fairly common exclusion. It lets the policy holder know in advance that no matter how much their dollar-value of coverage is, any earthquake damage will not be covered by that specific homeowners policy.


Home insurance coverage limits are stated dollar amounts above which there is no coverage. For example, if a policy states that coverage for damage done by a fire will be no greater than $300,000, that number acts as a ceiling of reimbursable coverage. In other words, if the home is destroyed by fire, the policy will cover any directly-related damage up to and including $300,000, but nothing greater than that.

It’s smart to read the fine print of any homeowners policy and make special note of all policy exclusions and limits because they have a profound effect on what happens when your home is damaged. Limits are stated in dollar amounts and exclusions will be listed in the policy by category, such as “flood damage,” “earthquake damage,” and “hurricane damage.” The wording will vary by insurer and by state, so be on the lookout for any language that refers to homeowners insurance policy limits and policy exclusions.

How to find affordable homeowners insurance

homeowners insurance guide

Anyone who currently owns a home or is in the process of finding one needs to know about home insurance costs. Rates and prices vary widely from location to location and from company to company. Using this homeowners insurance guide you will find efficient ways to search for low-cost homeowners insurance quotes in order to bring your overall cost of home ownership down significantly.

One way to begin the process is to spend an hour or so looking for affordable homeowners insurance in 2019 online. Be aware there are numerous kinds of discounts and special policies designed for people who are first-time buyers, veterans, teachers, law enforcement professionals, and residents of in certain states.

For example, it’s rather easy to find affordable homeowners insurance for veterans because most major carriers offer discounted programs for current and former members of the U.S. military. It’s also possible to find low policy prices in your local area by doing a geographic search.

Residents of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, or other cities in Pennsylvania can easily search online for affordable homeowners insurance in Pennsylvania and uncover dozens of different low-cost policies for state residents.

Because insurance laws are different in every U.S. state, it often makes sense to begin your search for low-priced homeowners insurance by limiting your research to the state where you reside or where you are planning to buy a home.

How to compare homeowners insurance policies

homeowners insurance guide

When making a home insurance policy comparison, it is vitally important to make sure you understand exactly what each policy covers, what each excludes, and what the limits are for each one. A home insurance plan comparison should not just look at prices. That would be as ineffective as comparing automobiles based solely on the sticker price without taking into account age, mileage, fuel economy, size, make, model, and other essential factors.

Besides the dollar-value elements of a homeowners policy, compare what the coverage areas are, what specific exclusions are listed in the contract, whether you are getting the discounts you should (like a veterans or first-time home buyer’s rate), and total annual premium amounts. In addition, be certain to compare the financial stability of the various companies whose policies you are considering.

If all else is equal in terms of exclusions, premium, and other key factors, it’s best to opt for the carrier that has the most experience and is highly rated by consumers and industry professionals. Comparing homeowners policies takes a bit of work but is well worth the time and effort you put into the endeavor.

Homeowners insurance costs, coverage amounts, & deductibles

homeowners insurance guide

Most people, especially those who set out to purchase their first home, want to know the standard homeowners insurance cost for their area and price bracket. Another very common question pertains to the standard homeowners insurance deductible. Both amounts, of course, vary a great deal based on a number of factors. One thing you can do is find out the average amount for a typical policy in your area and the average amount of the deductible value for each part of the policy. In many cases, deductibles are set at about 10 percent of the home’s full replacement cost.

If you want a higher or lower homeowners insurance deductible, expect the policy premiums to change accordingly. Some consumers are happy to pay more for insurance coverage if the deductible is lower.

Many policies have several deductible amounts based on the particular hazard or peril being covered. It’s not unusual for fire damage and storm damage deductibles to be different. Always read the policy contract to see what the amounts are and be sure to make note of what the typical coverage includes. Depending on where you live, a standard policy might not fit your needs. This is especially true if you live in a storm-prone geographic region and need a higher level of coverage for certain weather-related hazards.

In addition to owners of a primary residence, there’s another large group of people who need insurance: rental property owners. A common question that agents hear pertains to how much rental property insurance should be. The short answer is this: if you own rental property, expect to pay a bit more for insurance coverage no matter where you live. Traditionally, homeowners insurance for rental property tends to be about 20 percent more expensive than a standard homeowners policy.

Making sure your home is properly covered for a disaster is the primary concern of anyone who owns property. That’s why even a renters insurance coverage amount is important to know. As a renter, you might not need to replace the structure but you will want to protect your belongings.

Putting a specific dollar value on a homeowners insurance cost average is very important. You need to know the average homeowners insurance cost per month in your area for similar kinds of homes. Always note the standard liability amounts in your homeowners policy.

Do lenders require homeowners insurance? They certainly do. And if you don’t purchase enough coverage to satisfy their limits, they’ll purchase a policy for you. Beware of this situation because lenders won’t worry about price comparisons or low deductibles. The amount of insurance the lender requires you to buy is determined by state law so you’ll need to follow those guidelines if you have a mortgage. The amount of insurance the lenders mortgage requires will be clearly stated in the loan documents.

Choosing homeowners insurance policy quotes & prices

homeowners insurance guide

It takes time to come up with a wide array of reliable home insurance policy quotes but the internet is a big help. In addition to searching by location or a specific company, you can view quotes based on cost parameters. Homeowners insurance quotes can be found both online and over the phone. Some consumers prefer to go with a company they already trust or have heard good things about.

It’s a pretty common practice for people to target a specific homeowners coverage price maximum, just as they would search for a new car based on price lows and highs. Keep in mind that it is possible to locate affordable homeowners insurance plans but the lowest price will not always deliver the coverage you need.

For example, if you live in an area where major storms are common, you’ll want to pay close attention to coverage types, limits, and exclusions. Prices might be very low for a particular policy but if there’s no coverage for storm damage, the low premium does you no good.

However, once you are able to uncover the types of policies you need and a few companies that you are willing to purchase from, it is time to zero in on home insurance plan prices. The key thing to do first, though, is to make sure you’re comparing similar policies from companies you trust.

After that hurdle, you can start to find policy quotes and prices that fit into your budget. Always make sure to verify any policy quote or price you find online. Smart consumers make note of phone numbers and call the companies directly to discuss the fine points of each quote.

Choosing a company to insure your home is a major decision. That’s why online prices and quotes are simply a beginning point for purchasing homeowners insurance from a reputable company at a reasonable rate.

How to use this guide to find the best local rates for homeowners insurance?

homeowners insurance guide

The vast majority of consumers who are searching for a homeowners policy shop with many factors in mind. Those key points include overall cost, the reputation of the carrier, the specifics of the policy itself, and the location of the company offering the coverage. In fact, it makes sense to first consider your location because all other factors are related to where you live or where you will be buying a home.

A smart first step, after searching for “home insurance companies near me” is to develop a home insurance companies list of carriers you can trust. How do you know which companies you can trust? Read online consumer reviews and check for industry ratings from reliable sources. Personal blogs should be avoided because you never know who creates the content and whether they are biased for or against a certain company.

Of course, homeowners insurance cost by state varies a great deal. The good news is that you only have to deal with the state in which you reside, so narrow your research down to your home state from the very beginning of your search. The same thing can be said for renters insurance policies by state: the prices range from very low to high.

The way past this dilemma is to look for the “best home insurance agency near me” and “best home insurance agencies near me” when starting to search for a policy that fits your specific needs in terms of price, coverage types, exclusions, and deductibles.

Always remember to input your city’s name when doing a location search. For example, if you want to use an online search engine for the phrase “homeowners insurance policies Oxford,” you’ll see results based exclusively on that local area. Carriers that do not serve the city you specify will not be in the results that show up. That’s just one way to limit your efforts and make certain that the policy providers you see are ones that service your state and city.

Location is an essential component of any search you do for homeowners insurance policies. Some carriers only operate in one state while others are licensed to serve the entire nation. The main rule for consumers who have a preferred carrier is to establish beyond any doubt that the company is licensed to operate in your state. From that point onward, you can narrow results based on city or even smaller geographic areas.

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