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Home Insurance: Basic Terms to Know

Claim

If you have a loss that is covered by the terms of your home insurance, you can file an insurance claim with your insurance company for coverage, compensation or for representation if you are liable for damages.

Deductible

A deductible is the amount you need to pay before your insurance company begins to pay for your damages or loss. You choose the deductible amount when you buy insurance.

Premium

The premium is the amount you agree to pay in exchange for protection from an insurance company. Annual and monthly payments are how most people pay for insurance. Others pay semi-annually or quarterly.

Liability

A liability, in general, is an obligation to, or something you owe someone, as a legal financial debt. Liability insurance protects you against legal costs and payouts you would otherwise be responsible to pay out-of-pocket.

Home Insurance Coverage: Simplified

Dwelling

Pays to repair or rebuild the physical structure of your home after a covered loss. This coverage should be high enough to pay for a full rebuild of your home.

Personal Property

Pays to repair or replace everything inside your home — from furniture and electronics to appliances and clothing — after a covered loss. This coverage is typically set at 50% of your dwelling limit, but some insurers will let you increase your personal property coverage to as high as 70%, depending on your coverage needs.

Personal Liability

Pays for legal and medical expenses if you’re legally responsible for injuring someone or damaging their property. Most insurers offer anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000 in personal liability coverage.

Loss of Use

Covers the cost of hotel stays, dining out, dry cleaning, and other additional living expenses when you’re unable to stay at your house after a covered loss. This coverage is typically set at 20% of your dwelling limit.

1. Location 

Your premium is mostly determined by your home’s risk of being burglarized or damaged by a natural disaster like wind or wildfire.

This means homes in larger cities, close to the coast, or in wildfire zones are more expensive than those in more remote areas free of natural disaster zones.

2. Your home’s characteristics

The age, square footage, number of rooms, building type of your home, condition of its electrical and plumbing, and the age of the roof will all affect the price of your insurance.

3. Dwelling Amount

The cost to rebuild your home and the amount of personal property protection you choose will affect the price of your insurance the most. 

4. Deductible

The lower your deductible, the more expensive your insurance will be. Choose a higher deductible to save the most on your insurance. 

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