Homeowners Insurance in Massachusetts

What is Homeowners Insurance?

Massachusetts homeowners have lots invested in their houses, and their investments need to be protected. Homeowners insurance policies don’t reduce the likelihood of accidents and disasters, but they help homeowners financially recover when the unexpected happens.

Homeowners insurance policies are so-named because one of the main protections they normally provide is property coverage for a house. This isn’t the only coverage these policies offer, though. Most also offer protection for personal belongings and against liability suits, and some have even more protections.

What Coverages Are Included in Home Insurance Policies?

The protections that home insurance policies provide are typically broken down into different coverages. Some of the coverages that homeowners may find in a policy include:

  • Dwelling Coverage, which might cover a house itself

  • Secondary Structures Coverage, which might cover other structures on a property

  • Loss of Use Coverage, which might cover the cost of alternative lodging after an incident

  • Personal Property Coverage, which might cover a family’s belongings

  • Personal Liability Coverage, which might cover liability lawsuits

Still more examples of coverages are vacant property coverage, and drain and sewer backup coverage. Vacant property coverage is sometimes needed if a home is left uninhabited for an extended period of time (as is the case with many second homes). Drain and sewer backup coverage often extends coverage to damage caused by certain plumbing issues.

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Are Earthquake and Flood Coverages Included in Home Insurance Policies?

Most home insurance policies don’t provide earthquake for flood coverages as either a standard or optional protection. Homeowners who want either of these typically have to purchase each as a separate policy. Some homeowners can get a subsidized flood policy through the National Flood Insurance Policy, but there aren’t many similar programs in Massachusetts for earthquake policies.

While these coverages normally have to be purchased individually, homeowners who work with a knowledgeable and independent insurance agent can easily get flood and earthquake policies. Agents who are familiar with home insurance can usually also request quotes for these other policies.

What’s the Difference Between an Open- and Closed-Perils Homeowners Policy?

Homeowners policies (and many other insurance policies) can be categorized into open- and closed-perils policies. The difference lies in how the risks that policies offer protection against are defined. Open-perils policies normally cover any risks that aren’t listed as exclusions within their paperwork, and closed-perils policies generally cover only those risks that are listed in their paperwork.

In most cases, open-perils policies offer more robust protections than closed-perils policies provide. There may be exceptions to this general rule, however, since policies have their own, individual terms, conditions and exclusions.

What Kinds of Homeowners Policies Do Insurers Offer?

Within the insurance industry, the different types of homeowners policies that insurers offer are frequently referred to as “HO-X” where “X” is a number. Some of the most common policies offered are:

  • HO-1, which is usually a closed-perils policy that lists 10 risks

  • HO-2, which is usually a closed-perils policy that lists 16 risks

  • HO-3, which is usually an open-perils policy

  • HO-3, which is usually an open-perils policy that has fewer exclusions

  • HO-8, which is usually similar to HO-3 but adapted for old houses

In addition to these common ones, there are many other abbreviations used to denote more specific coverages and policies.

Who in Massachusetts Needs a Homeowners Policy?

Most homeowners in Massachusetts should have a homeowners policy, and many homeowners are required to carry a policy. Mortgages frequently state that a house must be insured so long as there’s a mortgage on the property, and few homeowners could afford to lose their house even if they have paid off any mortgage that once was in place.

How Can Homeowners Get a Homeowners Insurance Policy?

Because homes are such valuable assets and homeowners policies offer so many coverages, selecting a homeowners insurance policy is a major decision. For help wisely selecting a policy, homeowners in Massachusetts should contact a Roger Butler Insurance agent who focuses on this type of insurance. Our independent agents can compare policies from multiple insurers, and our knowledgeable agents will know how to thoroughly review individual policies.

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