What Is Covered by Homeowners Insurance?


Typical homeowners coverage insures your dwelling, other structures and contents, and may cover against losses such as:

  • Fire or lightning
  • Windstorm or hail
  • Breakage of glass
  • Explosion
  • Riot or civil commotion
  • Theft
  • Aircraft
  • Vehicles
  • Smoke
  • Vandalism and malicious mischief
  • Liability

Your policy will also cover loss of use, including increases in living expenses due to fire or other insured loss. It is a good idea to be familiar with the coverage provisions for living expenses and include the information in your regular disaster plan in case of emergency.

Liability coverage may be included and protects you for injuries or damages to others caused by you, a member of your family, or pet. Medical payments insurance covers medical expenses to non-family members injured at your home.

You may elect to buy specialized homeowners coverage that provides additional protection for your dwelling and contents beyond the standard coverage limitations in most homeowners policies. Ask your insurance agent or broker about available endorsements to extend coverage. Endorsements to coverage such as building code upgrade can greatly add to your protection in a loss. You may also want to consider separate earthquake coverage or flood insurance, as these types of hazards are specifically excluded in most homeowners insurance policies. 

Important: Read exclusions in your insurance contract. Earthquake, flood, mold, earth movement, and "wear and tear" are some of the perils that are usually excluded. When an insurer writes your homeowners coverage, the insurer is legally obligated to offer you earthquake coverage for an additional premium. The earthquake coverage may be written directly by the homeowner's insurer, by a separate insurer, or through the California Earthquake Authority (CEA).

Tenants (renters) insurance covers the loss of personal property and loss of use due to the above-mentioned perils, and may include liability and medical payments coverage.

Condominium insurance is similar to tenants insurance and covers personal property and improvements. Loss of use is generally limited to 40% of the contents limit. The condominium association generally purchases insurance for the building structure and common areas, such as corridors. Loss Assessment Coverage can be an important policy provision for you. It covers you for certain assessments the condominium association makes. However, you should check if it covers you for earthquake losses and how much it will provide you in the event of an earthquake loss. You should also carefully analyze the type of insurance your association has and how it would affect you in the event of a loss. Most condominium association policies cover the common areas and walls. Your condominium owner's policy will cover interior damage to your unit.