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Owning a home means the reward of having a roof over your head you can call your own, but it also comes with risks like fire and theft, to name a few. One way to ensure that you’re protected against some of the most common risks is to get homeowners insurance. All insurance isn’t the same, however. How can you know what you’re buying? Here are answers to the top questions consumers have about home insurance.

What is homeowners insurance?

Homeowners insurance is a group of coverages bundled into one policy that can protect homeowners from unforeseen damage or loss from events such as weather, theft or vandalism.

Homeowners insurance provides relief in the form of cash or replacement of the contents of the home and the structure itself. It also provides liability coverage against claims from others that may have been harmed on your property. It providescoverage for the use of the home, as well..

What does home insurance cover?

Basic home insurance policies cover the repair or replacement of the structure of your house, as well as covered contents, from fire, wind damage or hail – as well as theft or vandalism. Other incidents are usually covered, though they may vary by policy. Loss of your use of the home is usually covered, as well; during the time you are waiting for repair or replacement, the policy should pay for alternate accommodations.

More comprehensive policies may include outside structures (such as garages or sheds) systems (sprinklers or home security) and machinery or equipment used outside of your home.

If you run a business from home or need specialty protections for expensive home contents (guns or collectibles), you might be able to buy these protections as additional riders. Check your contract language carefully to see what perils are specifically covered (or not covered), as well as what your insurance will pay to replace or repair..

Home insurance usually offers a level of liability protection. If someone falls and injures themselves in your driveway, for example, the policy can pay if you were to be sued.

How much does homeowners insurance cost?

Like most kinds of insurance, the cost will vary. Factors that determine your total cost for premiums include how much your home is worth, any outside structures, how you use your property and the total value of your possessions. The final cost can be hundreds up to thousands of dollars annually, depending on how low you want your deductible and whether you cover the full replacement cost of the home and its contents.

What is the best home insurance?

The best insurance for you depends on a number of factors. You want a policy that’s sufficient to replace the structure and contents of your home if it’s destroyed or damaged. Policyholders expect to have temporary accommodations while a new living arrangement is being prepared. A top policy will come with excellent customer service and make the claims process easy.