What is homeowners insurance and what does it cover?

When you think of homeowners insurance, think protection. Most people simply can't afford to rebuild their home and replace everything in it if there's a disaster, which is why home insurance is so important. Here is what you should know about homeowners insurance:

What is homeowners insurance?

A homeowners insurance policy can protect your home against damages that occur to the house itself – and the belongings inside. Homeowners coverage can also protect your property, some of your personal possessions and you. It’s a package policy that combines two types of coverage:

  • Coverage against your property being destroyed or damaged by certain perils, such as fire, theft and windstorm
  • Coverage for liability exposure – for example, someone being injured on your property

For instance, if something unexpected occurs, such as a fire or burglary, homeowners insurance will help pay for destruction and losses. In addition, a home insurance policy may provide liability coverage for accidents that occur on your property (including both property damage and bodily injuries incurred by visiting guests) and may even cover certain accidents that occur off your property.

There are several different coverage types built into a home insurance policy, and it’s important to know what coverage types apply to what damages. Let’s get into the specifics.

What does homeowners insurance cover?

Now that you know the basic homeowners insurance definition, it’s important to understand what a standard policy actually covers. Homeowners insurance will help to cover damage caused by perils including:

  • Fire
  • Hail
  • Lightning
  • Windstorm
  • Theft
  • Vandalism

While other hazards, such as floods and earthquakes are not typically covered by standard policies, there are additional coverage options available.

What types of coverage do common policies provide?

A standard homeowners policy typically provides the following types of coverages:

Dwelling coverage

Dwelling coverage helps protect the structure, built-in appliances and wall-to-wall carpet of your house from damage. In the terms of your home insurance policy, your “dwelling” means the entire structure of your home and any connected structures such as an attached garage or cellar. In the event your home is damaged by a covered loss, this will help to cover repairs or any rebuilding that needs to take place as a result.

Other structures coverage

Other structures coverage applies to structures on your property that are not attached to your dwelling. If an unattached structure such as a shed, garage or guest house is damaged, other structures insurance may help cover the associated costs.

Personal property coverage

Personal property coverage protects your personal belongings in your home, such as furniture or electronics, if they are damaged or destroyed by a covered loss.

Liability coverage

Liability coverage may cover damage costs associated with bodily injuries sustained by guests on your property and other covered expenses that arise as a result of negligence. This could include the individual’s medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering and more. It could also cover your legal defense costs in the event of a dispute.

Loss of use coverage

In the event you need to temporarily move out of your home due to a covered loss, loss of use insurance will cover additional housing and living expenses that you incur. For example, if you have to move out of your home while it is being repaired or rebuilt after a covered accident, loss of use insurance would cover the cost of a hotel or temporary apartment.

Check out the full list of homeowners insurance coverage options available from Nationwide.

Is homeowners insurance required?

Yes and no. Homeowners insurance is not required by state law, like auto insurance. However, your lender may require that you obtain a policy and a certain level of home insurance coverage. Having home insurance is an important way of protecting your home and belongings from the unknown – and potentially avoid paying out of pocket for costly damages.

Homeowners insurance helps you protect the things that matter most. To gain peace of mind with the right home insurance policy, start your homeowners insurance quote today with Nationwide.

Insurance terms, definitions and explanations are intended for informational purposes only and do not in any way replace or modify the definitions and information contained in individual insurance contracts, policies or declaration pages, which are controlling. Such terms and availability may vary by state and exclusions may apply.