When you own a home, you want to make sure it’s protected against any potential damage or loss. That’s where homeowners insurance comes in. Home insurance policies can be complex, and one term homeowners may not fully understand is “dwelling.” Keep reading for an explanation of what “dwelling” means in the context of home insurance and why it’s an important concept to understand.
What Is a “Dwelling” in Home Insurance?
In home insurance, “dwelling” refers to the physical structure of your home, including the walls, roof, foundation, and any attached structures, such as a garage or deck. It doesn’t include any personal property or items inside the home, such as furniture, electronics, or clothing.
Dwelling coverage is one of the most important components of a home insurance policy because it’s the coverage that protects your home itself from damage or destruction due to certain covered perils, such as fire, hail, windstorm, and theft.
Why Is Dwelling Coverage Important?
Your home is likely one of the most significant investments you’ll make in your lifetime. If your home is damaged or destroyed, it could be financially devastating. Dwelling coverage provides a safety net in case the worst happens.
For example, if a fire destroys your home, dwelling coverage can help you pay for the costs of repairing or rebuilding it. Without dwelling coverage, you would be responsible for paying for those costs out of pocket, which could easily reach tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Mortgage lenders also typically require dwelling coverage. If you have a mortgage on your home, your lender will require you to have enough dwelling coverage to protect their investment in case the home is damaged or completely destroyed.
How Much Dwelling Coverage Do I Need?
The amount of dwelling coverage you need depends on several factors, including the cost to rebuild your home, the materials used to build your home, and the local construction costs in your area.
To determine how much dwelling coverage you need, it’s a good idea to have a professional appraise your home. An appraiser can estimate the cost to rebuild your home and provide you with a report you can use to determine how much dwelling coverage you need.
It’s also important to regularly review your dwelling coverage to make sure it’s still adequate. If you make significant renovations or upgrades to your home, you may need to increase your dwelling coverage to reflect the increased value of your home.
What Perils Does Dwelling Coverage Protect Against?
Dwelling coverage typically protects against a range of perils, including:
- Fire and smoke damage
- Windstorm and hail damage
- Lightning strikes
- Falling objects, such as trees or branches
- Theft and vandalism
- Water damage from burst pipes or plumbing problems
It’s important to note that not all perils are covered by dwelling coverage. For example, earthquakes and floods are typically not covered and require separate insurance policies. It’s also important to review your policy to understand what specific perils are covered and excluded.
What Isn’t Covered by Dwelling Coverage?
While dwelling coverage protects your home against many perils, there are some situations where it may not provide coverage. Some common exclusions include damage caused by:
- Earth movement, such as earthquakes or landslides
- Floods or water damage from outside sources, such as a river or lake
- War or acts of terrorism
- Wear and tear or maintenance issues, such as a leaky roof or plumbing problems
- Insects or rodents
Make sure to review your policy carefully to understand what exclusions apply and what additional coverage you may need to protect against those exclusions.
No matter which type and amount of coverage you choose, make sure to buy your home insurance from a trustworthy, experienced provider. For reliable, affordable coverage, San Diego homeowners know they can trust Altra Insurance Services. We also provide renters, commercial, motorcycle, and car insurance, San Diego residents can receive a free quote by calling one of our friendly agents today at (619) 404-6311.