House insurance vs homeowners insurance vs home insurance
There are many different ways that you can refer to your home insurance policy. People often call it “house insurance”, but this would mean that the policy only protects the house itself. The term most used by professionals in the insurance industry is “homeowners insurance”, or “home insurance”. So check out the guide below to see how home insurance works.
How homeowners insurance works in Texas
First of all, Texas state law doesn’t require you to have homeowners insurance. However, if your house is still not paid off (let’s say you’re still paying a mortgage on it), your lender (usually the bank) will require that you have it. And, although it’s not legally mandatory, getting homeowners insurance in Texas is something you should do. This is because it helps protect your home and assets from a series of unpredicted perils. All in all, most homeowners insurance policies in Texas include the six coverages below.
Dwelling coverage pays if the house itself is destroyed or damaged by something your policy covers.
Personal property coverage
This type of coverage for house insurance pays if the things you own are damaged, destroyed or stolen. For example, these things could be furniture, some electronics, clothes etc.
Other structures coverage
This type of coverage pays for repairs on structures on your property that are not attached to a house. For example, it covers storage sheds, detached garages, and fences.
Loss of use coverage
Loss of use coverage pays your additional living expenses in the event that you have to move while your house is being repaired. A few examples of additional living expenses: rent, food, and other costs you wouldn’t have if you were living in your home.
Personal liability coverage
This type of coverage pays lost wages, medical bills and other costs for the people you’re legally responsible for injuring. It also pays in the event that you’re responsible for damage done to someone else’s property, and for your court costs if you’re sued because of an accident you caused.
Medical payments coverage
Medical payments coverage in house insurance pays the medical bills of people that were hurt on your property. It also pays for some injuries that happen when you’re away from home. For example, if pays if your dog bites someone at the park.
Risks that homeowners insurance covers
Risks, or perils, are things that might damage your house or property. More specifically, most homeowners insurance policies cover damages from:
- Fire and lightning
- Sudden accidental release of water or smoke
- Vandalism, malicious mischief, riot, and civil commotion
- Aircraft and vehicles
- Windstorm, hurricane, and hail (but not if you live on the Gulf Coast)
Risks that homeowners insurance doesn’t cover
Most homeowners insurance policies don’t cover damages from:
- Continuous water leak
- Mold removal, except to repair damages caused by a covered risk
- Insects, termites, mice and rats
- Wear and tear
- Losses that occur while your house is vacant for a number of days (specified by your policy)
- Earthquakes or earth movement
Homeowners insurance policies do not cover damage caused by floods. However, if your house is in a designated flood zone, your lender (your bank) will require you to have flood insurance. As a result, you have to get flood insurance as a separate policy. But there’s good news! We sell flood insurance too. So, if you need it, since most flood policies have a 30-day waiting period before they kick in, contact us and get your policy as soon as possible.
Windstorm and hail insurance on the Gulf Coast
If you live in Harris County on Galveston Bay, or on the Texas coast, your homeowners policy won’t cover wind and hail damage. Wind and hail damage for coastal residents is sold by the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA). Since we’re a local agency, you can purchase your TWIA coverage from us. Depending on the exact location of your house, you might be required to purchase flood insurance before you can get a windstorm and hail policy. A home inspection by an engineer or a windstorm inspector might also be necessary.
Extra coverage (endorsements)
Most insurance companies offer endorsements, or policy add-ons, that allow you to add coverage or increase your coverage. Typically, endorsements include coverage for:
- jewelry, fine arts, electronics (your homeowners insurance policy does provide some coverage, but it might not be enough to cover expensive objects)
- Backup of drains or sewers
- Damage to foundations or slabs
- Extra repair or construction costs to meet local building regulations
- Extra construction costs if your policy doesn’t pay enough to rebuild your home
- Removal of mold
- Damage from earthquakes
Short term rental coverage
Most homeowners insurance policies won’t pay for damages or injuries that happen during short-term rentals. So, if you rent out your house for short-term lodging, you might need to purchase more coverage.
Renters insurance covers your personal property, like clothes, furniture, etc., in the event that they’re damaged or stolen while you’re living in a rented apartment or house. However, renter’s insurance won’t pay to fix the house or apartment building. The house/building owner’s policy will cover that. If you’re still a dependent, you might not need renters insurance, because your parents’ homeowners insurance might cover your property, even when you’re not living at home.
This type of insurance covers your property and the interior of your apartment/unit, it provides liability protection and pays additional living expenses.
This type of house insurance can cover just the interior of your townhouse, or the interior and exterior. It depends on whether the homeowners association has a master policy that covers the exterior. If it does, you can purchase a policy that only covers the interior. If the association has a master policy that doesn’t cover the exterior, you can purchase a policy that covers both the exterior and interior. In addition, townhouse insurance covers your personal property and provides coverage for liability and additional living expenses.
Mobile home insurance
Mobile home insurance covers the mobile home, your personal property, and your additional living expenses, and provides liability coverage.
Farm and ranch insurance
This type of house insurance is for homes outside the city limits, on land used for farming and raising livestock.