What is homeowners insurance?

Homeowners insurance covers damage to your home and property, including your personal belongings and other assets in your home. If a covered loss requires you to stay elsewhere while your home is being repaired or rebuilt, your homeowners insurance may cover your living expenses above your normal cost of living.

Your homeowners insurance may also provide liability coverage for accidents or injuries that occur in your home or on your property that you're legally found liable for — and potentially for injuries you may unintentionally cause to others off your property.

Is homeowners insurance required?

Unlike car insurance, home insurance isn't mandated by law. However, mortgage lenders have a vested interest in your home and will typically require you to carry home insurance. Even if you paid off your mortgage, your home is arguably the single most valuable asset you'll ever own and should be protected as such. Because homeowners insurance not only protects your home and property but may also cover you if someone sues you for accidental injuries, you might consider it a must-have.

Wondering if you need home insurance? Learn more about the five types of coverage below, and take the time to get a customized quote for your property.

What does homeowners insurance cover?

Homeowners insurance typically covers your dwelling, any other structures on your property, your personal property, personal liability if others are injured, and loss of use costs if you're unable to live in your home due to a covered loss. Here's what the five types of homeowners insurance typically cover:

Coverage type What it covers
Coverage type: Dwelling What it covers: Covers your home's structure and anything permanently attached to your house, including attached garages, chimneys, roofs, countertops, cabinets, flooring, vanities, and in-ground pools
Coverage type: Other structures What it covers: Covers structures that aren't permanently attached to your home, including unattached garages, gazebos, decks, patios, sheds, pergolas, fences, and driveways
Coverage type: Personal property What it covers: Pays to repair or replace your belongings such as clothes, furniture, and electronics if they're damaged or stolen from your home, car, storage locker, or even while you're on vacation
Coverage type: Personal liability What it covers: Pays for injuries or damages you or your family members cause to others, including certain attorney fees and court costs
Coverage type: Loss of use What it covers: Pays for daily expenses exceeding your average living costs when you're unable to live in your home while it's being repaired or rebuilt due to a covered loss

Homeowners insurance claims are typically the result of a covered peril, and your payment for the damages depends on the homeowners insurance coverage limits on your policy.

What does homeowners insurance not cover?

Your home insurance policy will include a list of coverage exclusions. Here are a few examples of what's not typically covered:

FAQ about home insurance

Is home insurance tax deductible?

Generally, no. But some exceptions warrant a possible home insurance tax deduction, including if you have a home-based business. Consult a tax professional for more details. Properties with a home-based business might not be eligible, though some insurance carriers might accept your business if it doesn't have any foot traffic on the premises, including employees and clients.

How long are home insurance policies in effect?

Most policies are for 12 months and renew annually. Learn more about policy lengths and how homeowners insurance is paid.

Do I need homeowners insurance for a rental property?

If you have rental properties and tenants, you need landlord insurance to safeguard your property and provide liability coverage like any other home insurance policy.

Read more commonly asked questions regarding home insurance.

How to buy homeowners insurance

Go online

We'll ask simple questions about your property, then you can customize your coverages and start date.

Call us

Speak with a licensed homeowners representative who can guide you through your quote.

Ask an agent

We'll connect you with a licensed independent agent near you.