Dwelling coverage is a part of a home insurance policy that covers the structural elements of a house or condo. This part of your policy is also known as Coverage A and is a standard portion of a home insurance package. Basically, dwelling coverage in home insurance provides protections for the dwelling itself, but there is a bit more to know.
What does dwelling coverage in home insurance protect?
Dwelling coverage applies to the replacement or repair of structural elements of a home. It does not provide coverage for your personal possessions. There are some items that are connected to the home structure that qualify for protection under dwelling coverage that may not be easily identified as a structural element. The following parts of a home are usually included the protections of dwelling coverage in home insurance:
- Attached decking
- Attached garage
- In-ground swimming pool
- Screened-in porch
- Water heater
Some of the features that are not included in dwelling coverage in home insurance are:
- Above-ground swimming pools
- Detached garage
- Personal possessions
If there is doubt about what is and isn’t protected under dwelling coverage, ask your home insurance agent for clarification.
What kinds of dwelling coverage are there?
There are two types of dwelling coverage that are included as part of your home insurance package. They differ in how your structural elements are valued. Dwelling coverage claims may calculate the value of items by replacement cost or actual cash value, which can greatly impact the amount you receive in the event of a claim.
If your dwelling coverage uses actual cash value to determine how much items are worth, your claim is calculated by adding up how much each lost item could have sold for at the time of the loss. This takes into account depreciation over time, and usually yields a lower value claim. After all, your roof is not worth the same amount after 10 years of wear and tear as it was freshly installed.
The other means of calculating value is by replacement cost. This is the preferable method of valuation for homeowners because it adds up how much it will cost to replace each of the lost structural features. Instead of your insurance paying out the value of your 10-year-old roof, for instance, you are paid for the amount to install a new roof of the same type.
How much dwelling coverage in home insurance do you need?
You want enough dwelling coverage to be able to rebuild your home in case it is destroyed. Conduct research into how much the average square foot costs from local home builders. Then, multiply the average cost of a square foot to build by the square footage of your home for a starting point.
Take the square footage cost for your home, and add in the cost to replace your roof, cabinets, and attached appliances. This yields an approximate dollar amount for rebuilding your home, which is likely a different amount than you paid for it. This amount is the minimum amount of dwelling coverage you need to ensure you can rebuild your home in the event of a total loss.
While dwelling coverage in home insurance is standard, the standard limit may not be enough to prevent out-of-pocket costs if a total loss occurred. You can increase the dwelling coverage limits of your home insurance policy. Although this will increase your premium, the increase in protection may be worth it to you in the case of a disaster.