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Field Guide to Homeowner's Insurance

(Updated September 2013)

"Homeowners insurance covers the structure of your home and your personal property, as well as your personal legal responsibility (or liability) for injuries to others or their property while they're on your property."

Homeowner's insurance policies may include provisions for:

  • Dwelling (for damages to your house)
  • Other structures (for damages to fences, garages, sheds, etc.)
  • Personal property (for damages to possessions)
  • Loss of Use or additional living expenses (for times when your home is being repaired)
  • Personal Liability (coverage for injured on your property or by your pets on your property)

Source: A Consumer's Guide to Home Insurance, (2010).

It is important to note that a standard homeowner's insurance policy does not typically include earthquake damage or flood insurance. (Source: 12 Ways to Lower Your Homeowners Insurance Costs, 2009).

Homeowner's Insurance: The Basics

Storms Hit Homeowner’s Insurance Coverage, (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 2013).

Homeowners Insurance: Are You Over- or Underinsured? (HouseLogic.com, Aug. 28, 2009).

5 Things You Need to Know About Homeowners Insurance, (Money, Sept. 2010)

Homeowners Insurance, (Answers.USA.gov, Aug. 17, 2010).

Homeowner's Insurance: Is Mold Covered?, (HouseLogic.com, Apr. 15, 2010).

What's Covered by Umbrella Insurance, (HouseLogic.com, Jan. 29, 2010).

A Consumer's Guide to Home Insurance, (National Association of Insurance Commissioners, 2010).

Houselogic.com Topic Page: Homeowner Insurance, (HouseLogic.com, 2010).

Assessing Costs, Coverage, and Risks

There are many factors to consider when calculating homeowner's insurance coverage needs, including the type of provisions that area and are not included in the policy. However, for a quick and basic calculation, check out realtor.com's Home Insurance Calculator.

Home Owners Finding Gapes in Insurance Coverage, (REALTOR® Magazine, May 15, 2013).

Home Owners Try to Curb Rising Insurance Costs, (May 25, 2012).

After Irene, Home Owners Find Insurance Gaps, (REALTOR® Magazine, Aug. 30, 2011).

How Much Home Insurance is Enough? (REALTOR® Magazine, May 31, 2011).

Beware of the Dog: He's an Insurance Risk, (Business Insurance, Aug. 23, 2010). Q

Free Tips Help Home Owners Do an Insurance Checkup, (REALTOR® Magazine, Aug. 20, 2010).

Improve Your Insurance Score, (HouseLogic.com, Sept. 11, 2009).

12 Ways to Lower Your Homeowners Insurance Costs, (Insurance Information Institute, Mar. 19, 2009).

Homeowner's Insurance Market and Politics

Survey: Many Owners Fail to Get Flood Insurance, (REALTOR® Magazine, Apr. 26, 2013).

Soaring Insurance Rates Shock Home Owners, (REALTOR® Magazine, Jul. 11, 2013).

Building roof design critical to withstanding wind and hail: Risk managers can limit losses when storms hit, (Business Insurance, Jul. 30, 2012). Q

Building roof design critical to withstanding wind and hail: Risk managers can limit losses when storms hit, (Business Insurance, July 30, 2012). Q

Other Ways the 'Foreclosure Crisis' Could Sting Homeowners, (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 22, 2010).

Greater Choice Key to Homeowners Market, (National Underwriter, Oct. 11, 2010). Q

Homeowners Market Moves Spark Confrontations with Trio of Regulators, (National Underwriter, Oct. 4, 2010). Q

Stagnant Homeowners Market Prompts Shift to Retention Strategy, (National Underwriter, June 28, 2010).  Q

Research on Your Own

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners' website also has tools to assist you in identifying insurers.

State Resources

Many state insurance departments offer valuable and free resources on homeowner's insurance. With insurance statutes and regulations varying from state to state, you will want to focus on your state's department website for information relevant to your needs. Consider visiting your state's insurance department website to see what resources are offered. A few examples:


To search for the most recent articles on homeowners insurance, log in to NAR's ProQuest account and enter subject terms such as:

  • Homeowners insurance
    • Enter into ProQuest text box as SU(homeowners insurance)
  • Homeowners insurance and insurance coverage
    • Enter into ProQuest text box as SU(homeowners insurance) AND SU(insurance coverage)
  • Homeowners insurance and insurance policy
    • Enter into ProQuest text box as SU(homeowners insurance) AND SU(insurance policy)

eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

Protect Yourself. (Adobe eBook)

How to Insure Your Home (Adobe eBook)

Complete Book of Insurance (Adobe eReader)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Central. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Central at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Risk Management in the Post 9/11 World, (Chicago, IL: Institute of Real Estate Management, 2004). HV 6431 In7r

Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home, (Berkeley, CA: Nolo, 2007). HD 1341 B73

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Disaster Insurance

Field Guide to Flood Insurance

InfoCentral Blog

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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.