A homeowners insurance declarations page is a document that summarizes the coverages, limits, deductibles, premium, and other features of your policy. Your insurance company will send you a declarations page when you buy, renew, or modify your homeowners insurance policy.
What’s included in a homeowners insurance declarations page?
Think of the declarations page (sometimes referred to as a “dec page” or just a “dec”) as a user-friendly overview of your policy. Usually just one or two pages in length, it lists a variety of information:
- The policy number
- The policy period (the dates the policy is in effect)
- The named insureds (you and anyone else covered by the policy)
- The address of the insured property
- Other details about the home, such as square footage and roofing type
- The names of any lienholders
- The policy coverages, limits, and deductibles
- Any discounts that apply to the policy
- The policy premium
- The name of and contact information for the insurance agent
Whereas a policy contract (a separate document, often several pages in length) provides highly detailed information in legal language, a declarations page is designed to be easy to read and understand. Be sure to keep your homeowners policy declarations page in a safe place.
What’s not included on a homeowners insurance declarations page?
Because the declarations page is designed to be a high-level overview of your policy, it may not include information about some of the features that personalize your overall home insurance portfolio. For example, related policies for flooding or earthquakes may not be listed.
With that said, you should receive additional documentation for any related policy. Keep this documentation with your homeowners insurance declarations page.
Additionally, if you bundle your home and auto insurance with the same company, you might expect to have a single declarations page for both policies. In fact, each policy will have its own declarations page.
How to get your homeowners insurance declarations page
Your homeowners insurance company will send you a declarations page when you buy your policy. It’s typically sent by mail, but it may be emailed or accessible through the company’s website as a pdf file. Note that if you choose to have a “paperless” policy, you’ll have an electronic version of your declarations page.
If you misplace your declarations page, contact your insurance company or agent for a new copy. If you have an account on your insurance company’s website or app, you likely can log in to access an electronic copy.
How to read your homeowners insurance declarations page
The declarations page is primarily for your benefit, to help you better understand your homeowners insurance policy. It’s a smart idea to read your declarations page as soon as you receive it, as any inaccurate information may be a problem if you file a claim. Look for the following, and contact your insurance company or agent immediately if you find any inaccuracies.
- You and anyone else covered by the policy are listed as named insureds, and your names are spelled correctly.
- The property’s address is correct.
- The policy start and end dates are what you agreed to when you received your policy quote.
- If applicable, the lienholder is listed. If you’ve paid off your mortgage, the lienholder can be removed from the declarations page.
- The coverages, endorsements, limits, deductibles, and premiums all match what you agreed to when you received your policy quote.
Coverages, endorsements, limits and deductibles
Coverages provide reimbursement in specific situations. A typical homeowners policy should include the following:
- Dwelling coverage - Reimburses you if your home is damaged or destroyed due to an incident such as fire or severe weather.
- Other structures coverage - Reimburses you if a detached structure, such as a garage, shed, or fence, is damaged or destroyed.
- Personal property coverage - Reimburses you if your personal belongings, such as furniture, electronics, clothing, or portable appliances, are stolen or destroyed.
- Loss of use coverage (sometimes referred to as additional living expense) - Reimburses some of your living expenses if you need temporary lodging while your home is being rebuilt or repaired for a covered incident.
- Personal liability coverage - Reimburses your legal expenses and damages owed if you’re held liable for another’s property damage or injury.
- Medical payments coverage - Pays medical expenses to treat minor injuries sustained by guests on your property.
Endorsements (sometimes called riders) are optional coverages to customize your policy based on your needs. Common endorsements include water backup coverage, scheduled property coverage for expensive jewelry or electronics, service line coverage, and identity theft protection.
Limits are the maximum amount of money the insurance company will pay for a claim. Your dwelling limit should be set at the cost to rebuild your home.
Deductibles are the amount of money you pay when you file a claim. Think of it as your share of the costs of having your home repaired, or your property replaced. For example, a storm causes $3,000 worth of damage to your roof, and your policy has a $500 dwelling coverage deductible. You can expect the insurance company to pay $2,500 for the repair, leaving you to pay the final $500 out of pocket.
The premium is the cost of insurance. This is what you pay when you purchase or renew your policy. Any discounts that offset the premium should also be listed.
When will you need your homeowners declarations page?
Beyond using the declarations page to confirm the details of your homeowners policy, there are a few other times you’ll want to reference this important document.
If you have a mortgage, your lender may routinely ask for proof of homeowners insurance. Your current declarations page can serve as proof. Note that if you don’t provide proof of insurance, the mortgage lender may buy a policy on your behalf, passing the cost on to you. These policies are typically more expensive than what you can get yourself and provide less coverage. So be sure to provide your policy’s declarations page as proof of insurance when the lender asks for it.
If you file a claim, you’ll want to refer to your homeowners policy declarations page to confirm your coverages, limits, and deductibles. Being aware of your policy details can help you have more confident conversations with the insurance company and its adjusters.
Finally, you’ll want to have your current declarations page handy if you shop for a new homeowners insurance policy. This way, you can be sure you’re making an apples-to-apples comparison based on coverages, limits, and deductibles. Experts recommend you shop for homeowners insurance every year or two. Rates can vary dramatically between companies, and shopping helps you be confident you’re getting the best deal.
What other policy documents will the homeowners insurance company send to me?
When you buy or renew a homeowners insurance policy, you can expect to receive a thick packet of documents (or you’ll access these documents at the company’s website). These may include your policy declarations page, any policy endorsements, the policy contract, a privacy statement, and company information. Review and keep all of these documents in a safe place.
Does my homeowners insurance come with a proof of insurance card?
Unlike your car insurance policy, your homeowners insurance policy probably does not come with a wallet-sized proof of insurance card. If you’re asked for documentation showing you have homeowners insurance, your current declarations page will serve as proof.