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What is Homeowners Insurance?

A house represents the largest investment that most people will make, and it’s also the place that becomes home. For both of these reasons, houses should be protected whenever possible. One way that California homeowners can protect their houses is by purchasing homeowners insurance.

Homeowners insurance not only insures a house, but also often covers personal belongings and guards against common liability risks. These are a couple of other protections that most homeowners need.

Who in California Needs Home Insurance?

Most California residents who own homes ought to carry home insurance, and many are required to. Homeowners include not only owners of single-family houses, but also those who have a duplex, condominium or mobile home where they reside. Insurance is often required if any of these properties are financed through a mortgage.

What Coverages Can Homeowners Get Through Home Insurance?

As mentioned, home insurance normally insures a house, personal belongings and liability risks. These protections are afforded by a combination of coverages that any given policy might offer:

Dwelling Coverage:

Usually covers a primary dwelling on the insured property

Secondary Structure Coverage:

Usually covers secondary structures (e.g. sheds, detached garages)

Personal Property Coverage:

Usually covers personal belongings (e.g. furniture, clothing, electronics)

Personal Liability Coverage:

Usually covers liability lawsuits arising from common risks

In addition to these, some homeowners may also need vacant property coverage and/or loss of use coverage. Vacant property coverage is often necessary when a property is left uninhabited for an extended time (e.g. 30+ days for some policies). Loss of use coverage can help pay for alternative lodging if a property becomes uninhabitable due to a covered incident.

There may still be other coverages that can help homeowners. An insurance agent who specializes in home policies can help homeowners explore all of their coverage options.

What Are HO-X Policies?

Within the insurance industry, homeowners policies are frequently abbreviated with “HO-X” (X being a variable number). Some of the more common policy abbreviations are:

  • HO-1: Normally a closed-perils policy with only basic protections
  • HO-2: Normally a closed-perils policy with slightly broader protections
  • HO-5: Normally an open-perils policy that protects against any risk not explicitly excluded
  • HO-7: Normally specially crafted to insure mobile homes
  • HO-8: Normally specially crafted to insure older homes

Some insurers also have high-value home policies, which typically are used to insure more expensive homes.

Does Homeowners Policies Cover Water Damage?

Whether homeowners policies cover water damage depends on the coverages included in a policy and what the source of water damage is. 

Water damage that’s the result of flooding or other unusual water patterns is almost never covered by homeowners policies. Instead, flooding insurance is typically needed to protect against this risk.

Water damage that’s the result of leaky plumbing might be covered. Any coverage that’s provided is likely limited to interior plumbing (i.e. not water mains), and issues that don’t result from poor installation and/or lack of maintenance.

Do Homeowners Policies Cover Docks for Waterfront Houses?

Homeowners policies sometimes cover docks, but whether these secondary structures are protected depends both on the terms of a policy and the type of a dock.

Removable seasonal docks are most likely to be covered under personal property coverage if protection is included in a policy. Docs that are permanent might be covered under secondary structure coverage.

Owners of waterfront homes should work closely with a knowledgeable insurance agent to make sure their docks (and any other structures) are properly covered by a policy.

How Can Homeowners in California Get Homeowners Insurance?

If you need help insuring a house that’s located in California, contact the independent insurance agents at Crusberg Decker Financial. Our independent insurance agents have the expertise necessary to help you find the best homeowners insurance policy for your house, and we can recommend that best policy regardless of which insurer offers it.