Home insurance has many different parts. Understanding what each part is and what is covered is important in case you ever need to file a claim.

One of the typical parts of a homeowners insurance policy is what’s known as dwelling coverage. This portion of your insurance policy will cover the structure of your house in case it’s damaged by a hazard that is covered under your policy.

Dwelling coverage is more than just your physical home, though. It can cover other portions of your property, under certain circumstances. But, it doesn’t cover every event that may happen to your home or your property.

Of course, each individual homeowners insurance policy is different, so make sure to check your own policy for the specific language. Below is a general description of what dwelling coverage is, as well as what is and isn’t typically covered by this portion of your homeowners insurance policy.

What Constitutes a Dwelling?

From an insurance policy perspective, the dwelling is the physical structure of your main home. Many homeowners insurance policies will also cover any structure that is connected (or attached) to your home.

For instance, a home that has a garage that is attached directly to the main structure is typically covered under dwelling coverage. Garages that are completely separate structures from your home and aren’t connected in any way are typically not covered in this portion of your homeowners insurance policy.

So, even though most garages don’t constitute living space, they can be covered under dwelling coverage if they are physically attached to your main home.

In this same vein, other structures such as back and front porches and decks are sometimes considered to be part of the dwelling. As a result, they may also be covered in this section.

What Are Other Dwellings?

Many homeowners insurance policies will also have a separate section called “other dwellings.” This coverage applies to dwellings that are on your property but not attached to your physical main home.

As described above, a detached garage would fit into the other dwellings coverage. Also included would be a shed, a detached deck and possibly even an above-ground pool. All of these detached dwellings would fall under the other dwellings section of your homeowners insurance policy.

Why Are the Dwellings Separate?

There’s one main reason why the different types of dwellings are separated in a homeowners insurance policy. The main portion of your policy for dwelling coverage is typically much higher than the coverage for other dwellings.

In many cases, your other dwellings coverage will be roughly 10% of what your total dwelling coverage limit is. For example, if your dwelling coverage has a $400,000 limit, then your other dwellings coverage might have a $40,000 limit.

This is an important delineation to make. If your detached garage is destroyed by a covered event, your insurance policy would only provide $40,000 in coverage for it — even if the cost to repair and/or replace it exceeds that amount.

That’s why it’s very important to review your total homeowners insurance policy and assess whether you have enough coverage for all aspects of your home and property. If you believe you would need a higher limit for other dwellings, for instance, you could purchase it at the time of signing.

What Events Does Dwelling Insurance Cover?

Many homeowners insurance policies provide dwelling coverage for a number of hazards. The Insurance Information Institute says that there are a standard set of events that are covered under this policy. 

This includes vandalism and theft, windstorms, lightning, hail, fire and smoke, falling objects, and damage caused by ice, sleet or snow. Of course, each homeowners insurance policy is different, so make sure to check yours to see what events and hazards are covered under your policy.

You may find that some of these events are not covered, or that there are additional events that are covered.

What Events Does Dwelling Insurance Not Cover?

Many homeowners policies will not cover events such as backups in the sewer, earthquakes, floods, normal wear and tear, and any damage that happens from standard maintenance not being performed. So, if your deck collapses because it rotted due to lack of power washing and/or staining, for example, your homeowners policy may not provide you coverage.

It is possible that you could add specific insurance coverage to your homeowners policy for some of these events. One of the most common homeowners insurance add-ons is flood insurance. In fact, depending on where your home is located, you may be required to cover flood insurance per your state laws or policies set by FEMA.

If your home is located near a large body of water that is affected by tides, then you may have to have extra flood coverage attached to your homeowners policy. In that case, you would be covered if your dwelling sustained damage due to a flood.

Work with a Trusted Dwelling Coverage Insurance Provider

Homeowners insurance policies can sometimes be confusing, and the different type of dwelling coverages are just one example of that. With something as important as protecting your home, it’s essential that you understand all aspects of your insurance policy so you’re never taken by surprise.

When you work with a trusted homeowners insurance agency such as Signature Insurance, you’ll know that you’re getting everything you need to protect your home.

At Signature Insurance, we have been helping people like you in Michigan for years now protect their most important asset — their homes. Contact us today to find out more about our policies, how we separate ourselves from other insurance companies, and for a free quote.