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Homeowners Insurance Dwelling VS. Other Structures

The Difference Between the Dwelling and Other Structures is Key to Coverage


When one purchases a homeowners insurance policy they usually don't understand fully how the coverages work until it is time to file a claim. This can be a problem because once it is time to file a claim, the insurance amount cannot be adjusted. Many find out too late that their homeowners insurance dwelling and other structures coverage may not be enough.

The first step in making sure one has enough homeowners insurance property coverage is to evaluate their homeowners property insurance policy to see if it provides adequate coverage to their dwelling and other structures. Therefore, let's review the difference between the dwelling and other structures coverage:

1. Homeowners Insurance Property Protection Dwelling: The dwelling typically covers one's house, attached structures, fixtures in the house such as built-in appliances, plumbing, heating, permanently installed air conditioning systems, and electrical wiring.

The key term in dwelling is foundation. Generally, if something on the property shares the same foundation as the main home, then it is covered under the dwelling portion of the homeowners insurance policy.

Also, when considering how much insurance coverage one would want to protect their dwelling, it is important to remember that the market value of the house does not always reflect the replacement cost. Older homes and brick homes may be more expensive to rebuild than their market value because of the material costs. Also, the market value of a home includes the land, which would not need to be considered in the cost of rebuilding the dwelling.

2. Homeowners Insurance Property Protection Other Structures: The homeowners insurance definition of other structures includes all the other structures or buildings on the property that do not share a foundation with the dwelling. This includes detached garages, storage sheds, and fixtures attached to the land including fences, driveways, sidewalks, patios, and retaining walls.

An important thing to remember about the other structures coverage is that it generally provides only 10% of the dwelling coverage. That means that if one has their home covered for $100,000 then the other structures coverage amount available would be only $10,000. Many detached garages are worth more than $10,000. If one has property on their land that would be considered under the other structures coverage and they feel their other structures property would cost more than 10% of their dwelling coverage, then they need to get with their insurance agent to add more coverage if they want to make sure their other structures are replaced.

A few exceptions to remember: Any structure rented to someone else, any structure used for business, and any additions added that were not reported to the insurance company will not be covered under the original policy. So, once again, one would need to contact their insurance agent to get these exceptions covered.

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