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Your Homeowner Insurance Policy, Explained

Types of Homeowner’s Coverages:

Homeowner’s policies combine various kinds of coverage into a single policy.

A majority of homeowner’s policies in Texas include these six coverages:

  • Dwelling (Structure) coverage pays if your house is damaged or destroyed by something your policy covers.

  • Personal property (Contents) coverage pays if your furniture, clothing, and other things you own are stolen, damaged, or destroyed.

  • Other structures coverage pays to repair structures on your property that aren’t attached to your house. This includes detached garages, storage sheds, and fences.

  • Loss of use coverage pays your additional living expenses if you have to move while your house is being repaired to fix damages your policy covers. Additional living expenses (ALE) include rent, food, and other costs you wouldn’t have if you were still in your home.

  • Personal liability coverage pays medical bills, lost wages, and other costs for people that you’re legally responsible for injuring. It also pays if you’re responsible for damaging someone else’s property. It also pays your court costs if you’re sued because of an accident.

  • Medical payments coverage pays the medical bills of people hurt on your property. It also pays for some injuries that happen away from your home – if your dog bites someone at the park, for instance.

How to Protect Your Property for All Claims

  • Call your insurance company to report damage.

  • Take pictures and video of the damage. Don’t throw anything away until your insurance adjuster tells you.

  • Make temporary repairs to prevent more damage. Remove standing water. Cover broken windows and holes to keep rain out.

  • Keep a list of the repairs and save receipts. Don’t make permanent repairs before the insurance adjuster sees the damage.

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All-Risk Policy v. Named Perils Policy

  • Know the policy types

    • All-risk policies cover any event that the policy doesn’t specifically exclude. These policies are also known as open perils policies.

    • Named perils policies cover only the events listed in the policy. For example, a named perils policy that only covers floods won’t pay for damage to your home caused by a fire.

  • More about all-risk policies

    All-risk policies provide the most coverage, but they don’t cover everything. They usually don’t cover damage from termites, wear and tear, sewer backups, floods, or earthquakes. They also usually don’t pay to remove mold or repair your home’s foundation.

    If you need more coverage than your policy provides, talk to your agent about your options. You might be able to add some coverages to your policy for an additional cost.

  • More about the named perils policy

    Named perils policies are cheaper, but they might not provide all the coverage you need. Some named perils policies cover fire, lightning, explosion, theft, and vandalism. But others cover only a single event, like earthquakes or floods. Read the policy’s list of “Perils Insured Against” to know exactly what the policy covers.

  • Your lender might require insurance

    If you owe money on your house, your lender will probably require you to have an all-risk policy. You’ll need to tell your lender if you file a claim and need repairs.

  • You might need more insurance

    Depending on where you live, you may need more than one policy. For instance, if you live in an area that could be flooded, you might need a flood policy to go along with your home policy. If earthquakes are a threat, you might also need an earthquake policy. And if you live on the Texas coast, your home policy might not cover wind damage. You’ll need a separate wind and hail policy to be fully covered.

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