What is ‘Homeowners Insurance’

Homeowners insurance is a form of property insurance that covers losses and damages to an individual’s house and to assets in the home. Homeowners insurance also provides liability coverage against accidents in the home or on the property.

When a mortgage is requested on a home, the homeowner is required to provide proof of insurance on the property before the lending bank can issue him or her a mortgage. The property insurance can be acquired separately or by the lending bank. Homeowners who prefer to get their own insurance policy can compare multiple offers and pick the plan that works best for their needs. If the homeowner does not have their property covered from loss or damages, the bank may obtain one for them at an extra cost. Payments made toward a homeowners insurance policy are usually included in the monthly payments of the homeowner’s mortgage. The lending bank that receives the payment allocates the portion for insurance coverage to an escrow account. Once the insurance bill comes due, the amount owed is settled from this escrow account.

A homeowners insurance policy usually covers four incidents on the insured property – interior damage, exterior damage, loss or damage of personal assets/belongings, and injury that arises while on the property. When a claim is made on any of these incidents, the homeowner will be required to pay a deductible, which in effect is the out-of-pocket costs for the insured. For example, a claim is made to an insurer on an interior water damage that occurred in a home. The cost to bring the property back to livable conditions is estimated by a claims adjuster to be $10,000. If the claim is approved, the homeowner is informed of the amount of his or her deductible, say $4,000, according to the policy agreement entered into. The insurance company will issue a payment of the excess cost, in this case $6,000. The higher the deductible on an insurance contract, the lower the monthly or annual premium on a homeowners insurance policy.