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What is Home Insurance?

Understanding home insurance: protecting your space

Your home is more than just wood, bricks, and stone; it’s the place that protects your loved ones and your memories. However, events such as natural disasters, accidents, or burglaries can threaten the safety and financial stability of your home. This is where home insurance comes in. In this article, we’ll discuss what exactly home insurance is, the coverage it provides and factors to consider when purchasing a policy.

What is home insurance?

Home insurance, also known as homeowner’s insurance or property insurance, is a form of financial protection that protects your home and belongings against a variety of risks. It provides coverage for damages to your dwelling and personal property, as well as your liability for injuries or damages caused to others on your property in a covered event.

Types of home insurance

  • Dwelling Coverage: Protects the physical structure of your home, including its foundation, walls, roof, and attached structures like garages. It typically covers damages caused by fire, lightning, wind, hail, vandalism, and other covered perils.
  • Personal Property Coverage: Protects your belongings such as furniture, appliances, clothing, and electronics. It extends to items even when they are not inside your home, like possessions stolen from your car or while traveling.
  • Liability Coverage: Provides financial protection if someone is injured on your property, or if you or a family member causes damage to someone else’s property. It covers legal fees, medical expenses, and potential settlements.
  • Additional Living Expenses Coverage: Helps pay for temporary accommodations, meals, and other expenses while your home is being repaired or rebuilt if your home becomes uninhabitable in a covered loss.

What does home insurance cover?

Like many other types of insurance policies, what your home insurance policy will cover depends on the type of policy, coverage, and company you choose. However,  typical standard policies will cover the following:

  • Fire, smoke, and lightning
  • Windstorms and hail
  • Explosions
  • Volcanic eruptions
  • Riots
  • Damage from cars and aircrafts
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Falling objects
  • Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
  • Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam
  • Sudden and accidental damage from an electrical current
  • Freezing of a plumbing, HVAC, or other home system

What does home insurance not cover?

Your home insurance policy will not cover all losses. Unless you choose to buy endorsements of a home insurance policy that specfically covers a certain loss, there are some situations or items that a standard policy may not cover:

  • Valuable Jewelry 
  • Collectible items 
  • Identity theft 
  • Non-necessary improvements such as tree removal
  • Earthquakes
  • Floods
These items or coverages can be added to most policies or can be included in premium policies. 

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Is home insurance required? 

Home insurance is generally not legally required by law, but it may be a requirement set by your mortgage lender if you have a home loan. Mortgage lenders often require borrowers to have home insurance in order to protect their investment in case of damage or loss to the property.

Even if you own your home outright and don’t have a mortgage, it is still highly recommended to have home insurance. While home insurance is not legally mandated, it is wise to consider purchasing a policy to protect your home and belongings from unexpected events that could result in significant financial loss. It’s important to carefully review different policies and coverage options to find the one that suits your needs and offers adequate protection for your property. 

Factors to consider when purchasing home insurance

  • Coverage Limits: Ensure that the policy you choose provides sufficient coverage to rebuild your home and replace your personal belongings in case of a total loss. Consider factors such as the square footage, construction materials, and the value of your possessions when determining coverage limits.
  • Deductibles: The deductible is the amount you are responsible for paying out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in. Higher deductibles often result in lower premiums, but be sure to select a deductible that you can comfortably afford should you need to make a claim.
  • Policy Exclusions: Pay attention to policy exclusions or limitations. Some insurance policies may not cover certain perils like floods or earthquakes, requiring separate coverage. Read the policy documents carefully to understand what is and isn’t covered.
  • PremiumsCompare premiums from different insurance providers and consider the coverage they offer. While cost is an important factor, it should not be the sole determining factor. Look for a balance between affordability and complete coverage.
  • Customer Service and Reputation: Research the insurance company’s reputation for customer service, claims processing.

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About Rate Retriever

At Rate Retriever, our mission is to make the way you shop for insurance transparent and fair through user-friendly tools that respect your privacy and deliver reliable, comprehensive results 

So we took everything we hated about comparing insurance quotes online – the spam, the long questionnaires, the limited choices, the inaccuracy of quote prices – and threw it out the window, favoring a short form that more accurately estimates what you’ll pay at each of the top insurance providers near you. 

Rate Retriever is an independent company that is not owned by an insurance provider, nor do we provide insurance ourselves. This independence allows us to be your free and impartial insurance research tool, helping you make the best decisions for your insurance needs.  

We may earn a commission when you click one of the links or call one of the providers listed on our site; however, we do not allow our partnerships to influence which information we provide. 

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Frequently asked

How does home insurance work?

When you purchase a home insurance policy, you are purchasing protection from financial loss. When a covered loss happens, like if your home sustains damage from a fire, your insurance policy will help cover the cost of repairs. You will need to pay your deductible before your insurance company will cover the rest of the cost of the damages, up to the limits determined in your policy. 

Is there a difference between home insurance and homeowners insurance?

No, there is no significant difference between home insurance and homeowners insurance. Both terms are used interchangeably to refer to insurance policies that provide coverage for residential properties. These policies typically include protection for the structure of the home, personal belongings, and liability coverage. The choice of terminology may vary regionally or among insurance companies, but the coverage provided is generally the same. 

What is the most common form of home insurance?

The most common form of home insurance is HO-3. HO-3 insurance policies provide coverage for the structure of the home, as well as personal belongings, against a wide range of perils, except for those specifically excluded. It offers a comprehensive level of protection for homeowners and is popular due to its balanced coverage and affordability. 

How is home insurance calculated?

Insurance companies calculate home insurance rates based on a number of factors, like your location, the size of your home, the age of your home, and your coverage limits. The insurance company you choose can also impact your premium.

What factors affect homeowners insurance rates?

Home insurance rates are influenced by a variety of factors. Some considerations are the location of the home, the age of the property, the condition of the roof, the type of construction materials, and the safety features inside your home. Your credit score, coverage limits, and your deductible also affect your premium.

Is it cheaper to bundle home insurance with car insurance?

Many insurance providers offer a discount when you buy home and auto insurance together. However, not all insurance companies offer a bundling discount. If you’re interested in bundling your policies, look for insurers that offer multi-policy savings.

How is Rate Retriever different than other insurance websites?

The biggest difference between Rate Retriever and other comparison sites is that we are a free and impartial research tool NOT an insurance marketplace.​ This means you can’t purchase a policy directly through, but you can use our tool to independently research your options and seamlessly connect with the provider you choose.

Unlike other insurance comparison sites, we:

  • Use third-party data to give you more accurate rate estimates instead of inaccurate, suspiciously low quotes to get you in the door
  • Do not limit your list of results to paid advertisers
  • Do not collect your email or phone number before we let you see your results
  • Give you results after just five questions (however, your results will be more accurate if you complete your profile)

We like to think that Rate Retriever is your insurance companion, not just another insurance comparison site. Our values guide everything we do, which is why we strive to offer transparent, trustworthy insurance tools.

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How does Rate Retriever make money?

Rate Retriever works with national and local insurance providers to provide our users with a seamless insurance shopping experience. We may earn a commission from our insurance provider partners when you click on a link, call, or purchase a policy from one of the providers listed on our site. That said, we’re committed to providing you with accurate, bias-free information, and we do not allow our partnerships to limit the results or influence the information we share with you.  


We do not sell your personal information, charge you for using our tools, or sell you insurance policies. Additionally, should you choose to purchase a policy from one of our partners, the price you pay will not be adversely affected. 

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