It might be intimidating to look at your home insurance policy. That thing looks, well, extremely boring and tedious. What if you just want a bird’s-eye view of what your policy does? Of course, it’s important to read your entire home insurance policy, but there has to be an easier way to get the basics. Well, insurance companies had the same thought. Enter the declaration page! Here’s an explanation of what the declaration page is.
What’s a declaration page?
The declaration page gives an overview of your coverage. It’s most likely towards the front of the policy, and there should be a handy-dandy header or label that proclaims it to be the declaration page.
What information is included in a declaration page?
There’s a lot of helpful information included in the dec page. It’s kind of like a summary.
The declaration page typically lists…
The policy number.
Well, that could come in handy. At least it makes it easy to find if you ever need it.
Your name and home address.
Well, as you’re the one being insured and the coverage is for your house, it stands to reason that that information would be front and center. This is the “who” and “what” that’s being insured.
Your insurance company’s information.
The contact information for your insurance company should be listed, too. There is always Google, but you know.
The declaration page also outlines the coverage that you have for your house. It might explain it in terms of dwelling coverage, personal property, other structures, loss of use, and liability coverage.
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Your limits of coverage.
Your declaration page should also tell you how much coverage you have by giving your limit of coverage. This is the maximum amount of money the insurance company will pay out towards a covered loss. Make sure you have enough coverage to fully rebuild your home from the ground up (in other words, insuring it for its replacement cost.) You also need enough coverage to replace your belongings and cover your liability.
Your deductible is the amount of money you agree to pay if you have a claim. You have your portion of the claim and the insurance company takes care of the rest, up to your policy’s limit.
To illustrate, let’s say you’ve set a $1,500 deductible. Then a tree falls on your house and causes and whopping $5,000 of damage. You’d pay $1,500 and the insurance company would pay $3,500.
Your dec page may also list your endorsements. (Endorsements are just extras that alter your coverage. They can add coverages to your policy – for example, you might have an endorsement for sewer backup coverage.)
The effective/expiration date.
These are important dates. Be sure to keep track of them. That expiration date might sneak up on you.
The declaration page should also tell you how much you’re paying for your insurance. You might prefer not to think too hard about the hit to your bank account, but if you’re ever curious…
Hey, discounts are a great way to save on home insurance. Your dec page should tell you what discounts are currently applying to your insurance.
Your liability limit.
You can also find out how much liability insurance you have by looking at your dec page.
Your mortgage or lending company should be on the dec page, too, since they have an insurable interest in the home.
Be sure to look over your dec page.
Take some time to check your declaration page to make sure everything is correct. Should there be any mistakes or errors, reach out to your agent. You might also encounter some questions. At any rate, check that you have the coverage you want, the limits you need, the discounts you qualify for, the endorsements you added, and so on. And check that the little things are correct, too – that your name and your lender’s name are spelled correctly, and all of that. And again, make sure to give your agent a call if you have any questions or concerns.
If you ever have a quick query about your coverage, your dec page is probably a good place to start looking for answers. It’s also a great way to refresh your memory as to what coverage you have for your home, sweet home. Use it as a resource and a guide to understanding what’s in your home insurance policy so you give yourself an anchor as you go over your coverage.
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