Property Insurance Declaration Page: How to Read It

Key Takeaways

  • Property insurance declaration page details covered and not covered events.
  • It also lists the costs of your policy.
  • You can check it if your home is damaged to see if you can file a claim.
  • Mortgage lenders require this document when finalizing your mortgage or making policy changes.

What Is a Property Insurance Declaration Page?

When you purchase property insurance, you’ll receive a property insurance declaration page, sometimes called a “dec page.” This page summarizes what your policy covers and what it doesn’t, including events and damages. It also outlines how to file a claim and includes details like rates, premiums, deductibles, and policy limits.

What Is a Property Insurance Declaration Page?

A Property Insurance Declaration Page: An Overview

A property insurance declaration page is like a quick summary of your insurance. Instead of reading the long insurance policy, you can look at this document for key information. Insurance companies give you this page when you buy a home or make policy changes. It has your personal info like name and address and explains the main parts of your coverage, like what’s covered and what’s not.

  • Effective date
  • Type of dwelling
  • Coverage limits
  • Deductibles
  • Covered and non-covered events
  • Annual premiums
  • Discounts
  • Responsibilities of the homeowner, such as the fire extinguishers or deadbolts

The property insurance declaration page takes info from your policy and puts it in an easy-to-read way, usually on one page. You might get it by email, or online after buying the policy. It might not have all the details, like extra coverage for things not in the main policy.

How to Read a Property Insurance Declaration Page 

If your home gets damaged, your insurance declaration page can show if it’s covered. If you’re not sure, contact your insurance company to file a claim. Keep a copy of your declaration page to know your deductibles and coverage limits.

How to Read a Property Insurance Declaration Page

Review your policy summary

It’s important to understand the basic information in your policy. If you ever need to make a claim, you’ll have to give your policy number, which you can find in this section. Your insurance agent’s contact details should also be here if you need to change or cancel your homeowners insurance.

Make sure the property info is right, and that your personal information is current and accurate.

Review your coverage limits & deductibles

Your declaration page includes a section that explains the six main types of home insurance coverage and how much your insurance will pay for each one if something goes wrong. For instance, if you have $300,000 in dwelling coverage, that’s the most your insurance will pay for home damage.

Section 1: Property 

Here are the main coverages explained simply:

  • Coverage A – Dwelling: This covers your home’s structure, including the roof and built-in things like your water heater and countertops.
  • Coverage B – Other Structures: It covers separate structures on your property, like a garage, shed, deck, fence, or pool.
  • Coverage C – Personal Property: This covers your belongings, like furniture, electronics, jewelry, clothes, and kitchen stuff.
  • Coverage D – Loss of Use: If your home is damaged and you can’t live there, this helps with temporary housing and extra living costs.

Section 2: Liability

Here are two more coverages explained simply:

  • Coverage E – Personal Liability: This helps with your legal costs if you or someone in your family is responsible for hurting someone else or damaging their property.
  • Coverage F – Medical Payments to Others: It pays for minor injuries to guests who get hurt on your property and need medical care. It doesn’t matter who’s at fault; it covers their medical expenses.

Other coverages

Your declaration page might also show extra coverage options you can add, like:

  • Water Backup Coverage: This pays for damage caused by sump pump or sewage backups.
  • Scheduled Property Coverage: It gives higher coverage for valuable items that have limited protection.
  • Equipment Breakdown Coverage: It covers household machines if they break due to electrical or mechanical problems.
  • Service Line Coverage: This handles the cost of fixing utility lines under your property if they break.

Identity theft protection: If someone steals your identity, this coverage pays you back for the money you spent getting your identity back and fixing your credit.

Deductibles

Your deductible is what you pay before your insurance helps with a claim. It could be a set amount, like $1,000, or a percentage, like 2% of your home’s value. If there’s a different deductible for things like windstorm or hurricane damage, it’s usually listed as a percentage.

Review your policy premium

Lastly, double-check your total premium to ensure it’s right. Some declaration pages break down the premium for each coverage, so you can see what you’re paying for.

Property Insurance Declaration Page and Mortgage Lenders

When you’re applying for a mortgage to buy a home, your lender may request your property insurance declaration page as part of the required documents. It’s important to note that this page is not the same as an insurance binder, which is a temporary contract showing your intent to buy insurance during the home-buying process. The property insurance declaration page proves you have actual coverage.

Property Insurance Declaration Page and Mortgage Lenders

If your lender doesn’t ask for the declaration page during the mortgage application, they might request it later or annually to ensure the home remains insured. When filing a claim, it’s essential to keep accurate records of your conversations with the insurance company and any out-of-pocket expenses you incur.

Property Insurance Declaration Page and Claim Filing

If your home is damaged, your property insurance declaration page can help you check if the event is covered. If it’s unclear, contacting your insurance company is necessary to file a claim. During this process, keep a copy of your declaration page handy to confirm your deductibles and coverage limits.

What’s included in a homeowners insurance declaration?

The named insured

This section is about the policyholder, and it might also mention other people covered by the policy, like a spouse or co-owner (called “additional insured”) or roommates and partners (called “second insured”). You could also find their names and ages here.

Policy number and effective dates 

Your declaration page has your policy number for reference and tells you when your coverage begins and ends.

Home information 

This section typically has important information about your home. It includes details like when your house and roof were built, what security systems you have, and your mortgage lender’s info.

Coverage Types

Your declaration page lists the types of coverage in your policy. This can include coverage for your home, other structures like fences, personal belongings, and more.

Coverage Limits & Deductibles 

The money you have to pay before your starts helping with a claim is called the deductible. You can find this amount on your declaration page along with your coverage limits, which is the most your insurance will pay.

Discounts, Endorsements & Add-ons: 

Your declaration page might also show special discounts and extras not in the original policy. When you add or remove these, you’ll get a new declaration page. Discounts can come from bundling home insurance with other types like auto, loyalty discounts, and more.

You might want to check out Nationwide’s smart home insurance program, a new way to protect your home from things like water damage and break-ins using the Notion Smart Home Monitoring System. Please note that this program is only available in certain states right now. Learn more if you’re interested.

Premium

Your declaration page usually has the cost of your insurance. Homeowner insurance prices vary depending on where you live, what coverage you have, discounts, your home’s age and condition, and more.

What’s Not Included in a Property Insurance Declaration Page?

Your declaration page might not show certain coverages like earthquake or flood insurance, which are available in some areas. It also doesn’t include all the fine print and special rules in your policy. For all the details, you’ll need to look at your complete policy documents.

How Much Does Property Insurance Cost?

Property insurance costs are different in each state. It can be as low as $735 a year in Oregon or as high as $2,165 in Florida. Your rate also depends on things like how old your home is, its condition, and how far it is from the nearest fire department.

3 Levels of Property Insurance Declaration Page

Property insurance comes in three levels:

  • Actual Cash Value: It pays for losses based on your property’s original cost minus the decrease in its value over time (depreciation).
  • Replacement Cost: It pays for losses based on the cost of replacing the property.
  • Extended Replacement Cost or Value: This is the most extensive coverage. It pays for replacement costs even if they go beyond the policy limit.

FAQs: Property Insurance Declaration Page

Is a declaration page proof of insurance?

Yes, Your declaration page can be used as proof that you have insurance. For example, if you need to prove it to your mortgage lender, they usually accept your declaration page as proof. But, if they need more details, it’s a good idea to have your insurance agent talk to your mortgage lender directly.

What does an insurance declarations page look like?

An insurance declarations page typically looks like a document with important information about your insurance policy. It includes details like your policy number, coverage types, coverage amounts, deductibles, premium costs, and the effective dates of your policy. It might also list any additional insured or covered individuals. It’s usually organized in a clear and easy-to-read format, often spanning one or more pages.

Do I need a new declarations page if I change my policy?

Yes, if you make changes to your insurance policy, you may receive a new declarations page reflecting those changes. This updated declarations page will provide accurate information about your modified coverage, deductibles, premium costs, and any other adjustments made to your policy. It’s essential to review and keep this updated declarations page for your records, as it reflects the current details of your insurance coverage.

Is a COI the same as a declaration page?

No, a Certificate of Insurance (COI) is not the same as a declaration page. While both documents contain information about insurance coverage, they serve different purposes:

  • Declaration Page: This is typically provided to the policyholder. It is a summary of your insurance policy and includes details such as coverage types, coverage limits, deductibles, premium amounts, policyholder information, and effective dates. It is primarily for your reference and provides a quick overview of your policy.
  • Certificate of Insurance (COI): This is a document usually provided to third parties, such as clients or vendors, as proof of insurance coverage. It verifies that the policyholder has insurance in place and provides specific details about the policy, including the types and limits of coverage. COIs are often requested in business transactions to demonstrate insurance compliance.

The Bottom Line

The property insurance declaration page is like a cheat sheet for understanding what your insurance covers and how to ask for money if something goes wrong with your property. It’s also important when you’re getting a mortgage.

But, before you ask for money from your insurance, you’ll likely need to talk to someone from the insurance company to make sure you understand what’s covered and how to do it.

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