How Homeowners Insurance Works

Why buy homeowners insurance?

Given all of the expenses that come with owning a home, it's reasonable to wonder if homeowners insurance is just another seemingly useless expense. The answer is no, it's not useless -- in fact, homeowners insurance is essential. Not only will a good policy save you money in the event that something happens to your home or belongings, an insurance company can also help you with other matters, like making your home more resistant to natural disasters. And though having homeowners insurance isn't required by law, most mortgage lenders require you to have homeowners insurance in order to borrow money from them. If you live in a condominium or co-op, you may also be required by your tenants' association to have homeowners insurance.

Even if you have a relatively new, well maintained house, homeowners insurance can help you in situations that may not be preventable. Say, for example, that you are having a dinner party at your house. A group of guests is gathered on the back patio, and one of the guests trips on a loose tile and breaks his ankle. You, as the homeowner, are potentially liable for the guest's injury. The right homeowners insurance policy should protect you against legal action and pay for the injured man's medical bills.

Now that you know why you need it, let's take a look at what it is you're buying.