What Is a Homeowners Insurance Declaration Page?
When buying homeowners insurance, your insurance company should provide you with a homeowners insurance declaration page. This document offers a summary of what’s included in your homeowners policy, including which events or damages are covered and which aren’t and the process for filing claims. Also known as a “dec page,” this form specifies your insurance rates, premiums, deductibles, and policy limits.
- A homeowners insurance declaration page includes details about your homeowners insurance policy.
- This document should spell out which events are covered and which ones aren’t, along with the various costs associated with your policy.
- If your home is damaged, you can use your homeowners insurance declaration page to determine whether you’re eligible to file a claim.
- Your mortgage lender may ask for a copy of this document when you are buying a home or if you make changes to your homeowners insurance policy.
Understanding a Homeowners Insurance Declaration Page
A homeowners insurance declaration page is essentially a snapshot of your homeowners insurance coverage. If you need to get information about your policy quickly, you can refer to this document instead of having to dig through the policy itself.
Insurance companies provide homeowners with a copy of their declaration page when their clients are buying a home and purchasing coverage or making changes to an existing policy. This document includes basic personal details, such as your name, birthdate, address, and phone number. It also breaks down the most important parts of your policy’s coverage, including:
- Effective date
- Type of dwelling
- Coverage limits
- Covered and non-covered events
- Annual premiums
- Items specific to underwriting (such as the presence of fire extinguishers or deadbolts)
These are all things that are drawn from your policy, but they’re listed in an easy-to-read format on a single page. Depending on your insurance company, this document may be mailed to you, emailed to you, or made available for online download after you purchase the policy.
A homeowners insurance declaration page may not include all the details of your policy. For example, add-on coverage for events not covered by the main policy may not be included here.
How to Read a Homeowners Insurance Declaration Page
Getting familiar with this document is important when you own a home, especially if you need to file a claim at some point. Your homeowners insurance declaration page can be a helpful reference if you have questions about your policy.
When reading through your dec page, first check to make sure that all of your personal information is correct. Specifically, make sure that your page has the right name and property address. Next, look at the coverage types, so you understand which perils are covered. For example, a typical homeowners insurance policy includes coverage for fire or theft, but flood insurance or coverage for other types of water damage may need to be purchased separately.
Once you’ve reviewed what’s covered, look at your coverage numbers. Your homeowners insurance declaration page may break down coverage amounts for:
- Primary dwelling
- Separate structures
- Personal property
- Loss of use
- Personal liability
- Medical payments to others
Your form may also list your deductibles for covered events as well as your premium costs. Your premiums may be reduced if you qualify for any discounts, such as a bundling discount if you’re combining homeowners and car insurance or a loyalty discount if you’ve been using the same insurance company for several years.
A dec page can be a single sheet with the most relevant information, but it can also be a few pages longer if it includes definitions or explanations of the information included. For example, your insurance company might define some of the key terms or coverage amounts in more detail, so you have a better understanding of your policy.
If you don’t see any discounts listed on your homeowners insurance declaration page, it’s worth a phone call to your insurer to see if there are any for which you qualify.
Homeowners Insurance Declaration Page and Mortgage Lenders
When buying a home, there are numerous documents you may need to give your lender to complete underwriting for a mortgage. A homeowners insurance declaration page is one thing your lender may ask to see.
Keep in mind that this page is different from an insurance binder, which is essentially a temporary contract that shows you’ve attempted to purchase homeowners insurance as part of the home-buying process. This binder is not a substitute for actual coverage, which is what a homeowners insurance declaration page shows.
Even if you don’t need to provide a dec page when buying a home, your lender may still ask for one after the purchase closes. You may need to give your lender an updated copy of your dec page annually as proof that you’re still insuring the home.
When filing a homeowners insurance claim, be sure to keep accurate records of conversations you have with your insurance company as well as of any expenses you pay out of pocket related to damages, temporary housing, or day-to-day living expenses if the home is uninhabitable.
Homeowners Insurance Declaration Page and Claim Filing
If your home is damaged, your homeowners insurance declaration page may be able to tell you if the event is covered. If it doesn’t specify exactly what’s covered, you’ll need to reach out to your insurance company. This step would be necessary to file a claim anyway.
As you navigate the claims-filing process, be sure to keep a copy of your dec page on hand. This way you can verify what your deductibles are supposed to be and what your coverage limits are, so you understand how much you may have to pay out of pocket to resolve a claim.