Dwelling Coverage
Home Insurance

What Is Dwelling Coverage & Why You Need It?

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Getting Dwelling Insurance to Protect Your Home

If you own a home, chances are you already have homeowners insurance, if for no other reason than it’s near impossible to get a mortgage without it. Included within this homeowners coverage is something called dwelling insurance, or dwelling protection. This is a type of coverage for the structures attached to your home, like a garage or porch. 

If any of these structures are damaged, your dwelling insurance may pay for the repairs or replacement costs—depending on your insurance policy, of course. 

Let’s dive more into dwelling insurance so you know what it is, exactly, and why you need this type of coverage.

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Why Choose Dwelling Insurance?

Your home is one of the most significant investments you’ll make. Protecting that investment is important—many people don’t realize how important until they find themselves caught short on their homeowners insurance, which as we mentioned includes dwelling insurance.

After all, if damage happens to one of the structures on your property, it can be incredibly expensive to repair or replace. 

Dwelling home insurance helps protect you in the event of the unexpected, whether it be small or significant. From trees falling over to leaks, you’ll want to have dwelling home insurance to help offset or cover the expenses that can ensue. 

What Does Dwelling Insurance Cover?

Every policy is different, and even the area you live in can affect your coverage. However, most dwelling insurance policies cover the following perils:

Fire
Lightning
Hail
Vandalism
Theft
Windstorms
Damage from the weight of snow, sleet, or ice
Falling objects
Damage from aircraft or motor vehicles
Frozen plumbing
Explosions
Smoke damage

It’s important to note that home insurance dwelling coverage only extends to the structures that are physically attached to your home. Separate structures like detached garages, pools, guest houses, etc. will require their own separate coverage.

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The Limits of Dwelling Insurance

Understanding the limits of dwelling insurance will better prepare you when/if damage occurs. As mentioned before, dwelling insurance does not cover detached structures on your property, but there are a few other exclusions from most insurance policies. 

  1. Flooding. This is usually never covered within most standard homeowners dwelling coverage. You’ll need to purchase separate flooding insurance for coverage (highly recommended in areas that experience regular flooding).
  2. Earthquakes and Sinkholes. Earthquakes and sinkholes are also almost always excluded from dwelling protection and can be purchased separately. If you like in areas with regular earthquakes, getting this coverage would be a good idea because earthquakes can damage the foundation and be incredibly expensive.
  3. Maintenance and Maintenance Damage. Regular upkeep is part of owning a home and neglecting that upkeep could lead to damage that isn’t covered under dwelling home insurance. For example, neglecting to replace a 20-year old roof that leads to roof leaks and interior water damage may not be covered.
  4. Sewer Damage. If a sewer backs up and causes damage to your home, this usually isn’t covered and water backup coverage would need to be purchased separately.

Knowing these exclusions will help you purchase the additional coverage and protection you need while being more prepared when it comes time to file a claim for damage. 

How Much Dwelling Coverage You Need?

If you ever need to repair or replace part of your home’s structure, the costs add up very quickly. Hence, the benefits of dwelling insurance coverage. 

To determine how much dwelling coverage you need, you should figure out the value of your home’s structure and any attached structures. You want to be able to repair or replace any part of the structure with the same value, style, and design. It’s better to have more coverage than you think you need so that in the event of a disaster, you’re not financially devastated. 

It’s also important to note that the replacement cost of your home and structure is not the same as the market value of it: you would only be covered for the actual cost to repair or rebuild, not the amount that the home would have sold for on the market. 

Types of Dwelling Protection

Dwelling insurance is designed mostly for houses and their attached structures.

  • If you rent your home, you would choose renters insurance rather than home insurance dwelling coverage.
  • If you own a condo, you usually pay into an association policy and you can purchase additional property insurance to supplement that policy (some are all-inclusive, while some only protect the exterior of the building). 
  • If you are a landlord and rent out your home or property, you’ll likely opt for landlord’s insurance rather than dwelling home insurance for the property you rent out. 
  • If you leave your property unattended for weeks at a time, you would need vacant dwelling insurance. Damage to vacant properties is usually not covered under dwelling insurance.

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The Gist of Dwelling Policy Coverage

If you have any type of homeowners insurance, you likely have dwelling policy coverage automatically included. This means that your house and any attached structures would be insured in the event of any covered damage, which is laid out in your specific policy. 

It’s important to remember, however, that dwelling policy coverage alone isn’t enough: maintenance and upkeep is also critical to keeping your insurance active and applicable so that if you ever have to make a claim, you’ll receive full coverage, minus your deductible. 

FAQ
Dwelling insurance is insurance protection for your house and any attached structures to cover the repair or replacement of any part of it should damage from a covered peril occur.
Dwelling insurance covers your physical house structure and anything attached to it, like a garage, fence, porch, balcony, etc. Detached structures are not included in the coverage. Each policy will specify what your dwelling is protected from, but this usually includes damage from fire, smoke, hail, lightning, wind, vandalism, theft, snow, and more.
Flooding is usually never covered by dwelling insurance and needs to be purchased as a separate, additional policy. If you live in an area affected by flooding, it’s strongly recommended you purchase this type of additional policy.

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