Generally, a¬†homeowners¬†insurance policy includes at least six different coverage parts. The names of the parts may vary by insurance company, but they typically are referred to as Dwelling, Other Structures, Personal Property, Loss of Use, Personal Liability and Medical Payments¬†coverages. They are usually presented as policy sections and are often labeled¬†Coverages¬†A through F. This article discusses Coverage Parts A, B, and C, which protect property.
Coverage A, Dwelling
The homeowner policy’s first coverage section protects your house and any attached structures, such as garages, decks or fences. The typical policy covers your home when it is damaged by many perils (also known as causes of loss) including fires or storms. However, the following causes of loss are usually excluded from coverage under the¬†homeowner’s¬†policy:
- Faulty maintenance
- Damage from insects or vermin
- Wear and tear, gradual damage or deterioration
Coverage B, Other Structures
This coverage section protects structures that are not attached to the home, such as a detached (separate) garage, storage or utility shed playground equipment and swimming pools.
Coverage C, Personal Property
This covers your possessions, whether they are at your home or away with you on vacation. Personal property is often covered on a named peril basis. This means that only the causes of loss listed in the policy section are covered. The coverage is also subject to limitations and exclusions. Types of property having significant value, such as jewelry, fine arts, collectibles, etc., may require special protection. Talk to your agent about scheduling (adding) coverage on a floater which broadens and extends coverage for high-valued possessions.
Actual Cash Value vs. Replacement Cost
Commonly, protection under sections A and B is provided on either an actual cash value or a replacement cost basis. Actual cash value is defined as replacement cost minus depreciation. Replacement cost is the actual cost to replace the structure, regardless of depreciation. Check your policy to see which type of coverage you have. Coverage under section C is usually provided on an actual cash basis. However, your agent may be able to add replacement cost to your possessions just like that found in Coverage A.
Part one discussed how a typical homeowner policy covers buildings and structures. Now let‚Äôs look at Coverage Part D, which is also¬†a property¬†coverage; as well as Coverage Parts E and F. These latter parts address coverage for injuries to persons or damage to property that belongs to others.
Coverage D, Loss of Use
This coverage handles the cost of additional living expenses while your home is being repaired. The coverage also applies if the home is unusable. However, the loss or loss of access has to be the result of an event that is covered by the policy. For instance, if your home was damaged during a war and you had to abandon it, Coverage D would not be available because war is excluded. Additional expenses normally include food, housing, and transportation. However, the expenses must exceed what your family normally incurs.
Coverage E, Personal Liability
This Coverage Part responds if you are legally responsible for causing property damage or physical injury. Protection includes paying for your defense costs and any financial judgment for covered incidents. Naturally, the coverage would not apply for excluded situations, such as intentional injuries. Example: Joe is sued by a guy he injured after tackling and repeatedly punching him during a pickup basketball game. The injuries from this incident are not accidental and would not be covered.
Coverage F, Medical Payments
This Part provides rapid reimbursement for minor injuries, such as a guest who trips and falls while visiting your home. This coverage does not apply to a family member. For example, if your child and your neighbor’s child are both injured while playing and need to go to the emergency room, this coverage will pay for your neighbor’s expenses but not for your own child.
This is a brief overview of homeowners insurance. All of the coverage provided by the¬†homeowner’s¬†policy is subject to limitations such as exclusions, policy limits, and deductibles. It’s important that you discuss the details of coverage and any other insurance questions with your insurance agent.