The Beginner’s Guide To Dwelling Insurance


Dwelling Insurance 101

Homeowners insurance often seems like a complex tangle of policies, rules, fees, and restrictions. However, it’s important to know exactly what types of insurance are available, in order to ensure that you’re paying the lowest price for what you need. Dwelling insurance is an often overlooked type of home insurance that serves as a more restricted and streamlined version of traditional insurance. Although it covers less and is only appropriate in specific situations, it comes at a lower price, and can help make sure that you’re paying only for the features that you need. In the right situation, dwelling insurance can save you a nice bundle of money and may be much more compatible with your property. Here’s what you need to know about dwelling insurance, and whether it’s something you should look into.

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What Is Dwelling Insurance?

Dwelling insurance is homeowners insurance that covers only the structure of the dwelling in question, protecting it in case of a variety of natural disasters, and optionally, incidences like theft or vandalism. Dwelling insurance will cover the repair costs for structural damage on a home, such as building material and labor. In the case of more extensive, irreparable damage, it will cover the cost of the destroyed structure. Dwelling insurance covers the home and anything directly attached, meaning that structures you may not expect to be covered might be, such as a garage, your front or back porch, or even your deck, if it’s directly attached to the home. However, separate structures such as guest houses or tool sheds will not be covered, and may need to be insured under other forms of structure protection. What's Covered By Dwelling Insurance:
  • Fire and smoke
  • Natural disasters such as wind, hail, or lightning
  • Explosions
  • Riot
  • Damage created by aircrafts or unowned vehicles

Homeowners Insurance vs. Dwelling Insurance

Dwelling insurance usually covers a narrower variety of possible damage-causing incidents, with many of these incidents becoming optional add-ons to your insurance. Liabilities are usually not covered, though some, such as medical expenses for those injured on the premises, lawsuits due to negligence, or damage to the property of others, may be negotiated as another optional add-on. Optional Coverage:
  • Vandalism, theft, and damage to structure as a result of theft
  • Broken glass
  • Falling object damage
  • Building collapse, or damage as a result of the weight of ice, snow, or sleet
  • Damage related to heating and plumbing systems
  • Earthquakes
What makes dwelling insurance most different from traditional homeowners insurance is that personal property inside the home is not usually covered, thought it may sometimes be added on. No furniture, appliances, or any other personal belonging will be covered, only damages to the physical outer structure of the home are insured.

Who Benefits From Dwelling Insurance?

  • Landlords
  • Owners of properties not inhabited year-round, such as vacation homes
  • Owners of properties undergoing major renovations
  • Homeowners with highly expensive or ornate features on their homes, which can make traditional insurance unaffordable
  • Homeowners who cannot afford or are not qualified for standard insurance
The notable exclusion of personal possessions from dwelling insurance coverage makes it perfect for covering homes that are not lived in year round, or, for landlords, the properties that are rented out. Dwelling insurance is also great for those who may be renovating a property separate from the one they live in, and can ensure that any damages that occur during the process are covered. Also, dwelling insurance can help protect your home regardless of disqualification from standard insurance, which can be helpful for homeowners who don’t qualify for standard insurance due to bad credit, poor property conditions, or a variety of other reasons.

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Making Sure You Have the Right Insurance Policy

Knowing about and understanding dwelling insurance, its offerings, and its limitations can be a very important part of making sure that you’re not over-insured. For homeowners, landlords, or for anybody who needs a more flexible, streamlined incarnation of home insurance, dwelling insurance is something to consider in your search. While different agencies may have slightly different variations on dwelling insurance, talking to your insurance agent can help ensure that you’ve got the right options for your situation.
Sources: Shelter Insurance | Hanover Fire
Date of original publication:
Updated on: November 10, 2015

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