Having your own house gives you the opportunity to allow your friends and family to stay at your home. This can be a blissful arrangement, but what would happen in the event of an accident or catastrophe? Would your current homeowners insurance policy cover your friends and family, or would they be excluded?
To answer your questions, an independent insurance agent can provide you with unbiased, expert advice about your homeowners insurance policy. Consult an independent insurance agent today to learn about which coverages you can obtain and which ones fit your needs.
If family or friends move into my home, do I need to add them to my homeowners policy?
The short answer? If they’re family, you don’t have to add them to the policy. If they’re friends, you should add them to your policy or choose another type of insurance. However, insurers differ in the way they handle individuals moving into your home, so adding individuals to your homeowners policy is a wise move to avoid gaps in coverage.
To begin, a home insurance policy is written on the property where the title owner of the property resides. Generally speaking, a home insurance policy covers the occupants of the home including your spouse, your children, and any other dependents.
In most cases, when your children or family members reside in the same home as you, they are insured under the definition of the homeowners insurance policy. Insurers define these individuals as “household members,” or immediate or extended family members who live in the same home as the policyholder. This includes:
- Foster children
- Stepfamily members
Also, it should be noted that a household member may be defined as a relative who once lived in your home and intends to continue living there. The most common example is an unmarried dependent child who is attending a college/university away from home, but there are other situations that qualify. Speak with an independent insurance agent to determine who qualifies for coverage under your current policy.
Exceptions to coverage
As you can imagine, a homeowners policy is fairly comprehensive when it comes to protecting your family members. However, there are a few exceptions to coverage.
- If the property owner moves out of the residence, family members are no longer insured under the definition of most policies.
- Friends pose a bit more difficulty for insurers, as non-related individuals are typically excluded from homeowners policies unless they’re specifically added to the policy. See “If a friend moves in with me, are they covered?” below.
If you're unsure of how your friends or family are covered under your home insurance policy, contact an independent insurance agent today. An independent insurance agent can review your policy and help you change it in order to accommodate those who live at your home.
Why should I add people to my homeowners policy?
There are important reasons to add family and friends to your homeowners policy:
- Most homeowners insurance policies will cover the dwelling of a home, its contents, and certain liability situations to not only the policyholder, but to his or her family members. This can be invaluable if, for instance, you’re taking a family vacation and a family member loses their possessions on the trip.
- Another reason to add a person to your homeowners policy is that it can make insuring every person more affordable. For example, if your spouse moves into your home after paying renters insurance for their previous residence, that coverage can be eliminated.
- There’s also the ability to resolve conflicts if something happens. Considering that friends and family are important to you, insurance can pay for damages that may otherwise lead to strained family relations, dissolution of friendships, and bitterness if you’re not able to or unwilling to pay.
An independent insurance agent can help you understand how these scenarios and others apply to your current situation.
If a friend moves in with me, are they covered?
If you have a friend who moves into your home, there may need to be an alternative policy instead of relying on homeowners insurance. In this case, a renters insurance policy for non-relatives may be a suitable option to protect their belongings — even if you’re not charging them rent.
Another option to provide homeowners coverage for your friend is when they may have a financial interest in your home. By adding them to the deed, it should be possible to add the friend as a co-policyholder or an additional insured for most insurers.
What if I rent out my home to several non-related people?
The definition of a “friend” is a bit vague when it comes to the type of relationship that you may have with other individuals. That’s why insurance experts recommend that those who want to protect non-related people who live in their home to choose a dwelling policy and require friends to self-insure with renters insurance (even if you end up picking up the tab).
Dwelling policies usually provide coverage for the physical structure of your home if it’s damaged by a covered peril, as well as the contents that belong to you, and liability situations. Your friends, who are classified as tenants, should seek out renters insurance under their own name to protect their belongings.
What coverage do I need if I don’t live in my home but other family members do?
A homeowner’s insurance policy should only be in place when you own and reside in the home. Having another home as your primary residence while housing other individuals typically require two policies: a homeowners policy for your primary residence and a renter’s policy on the home where others live.
For family members who reside in the home that the primary homeowner doesn’t, a renters insurance policy is the best course of action. While they may not be paying rent, this policy is geared towards individuals not covered under your primary home's insurance policy. In turn, the policyholder should have dwelling coverage on the home to protect it and its contents.
There’s also an alternative option where the relative’s name would be added to the deed of the property. This would enable that individual to obtain homeowners insurance. However, changing ownership is a big deal, but it may be a wise decision if you intend to house these individuals long-term, such as an aging parent or disabled dependent.
To know what you should do in this case, contact an independent insurance agent. They can advise you on how to be compliant with your insurer and get the coverage to meet everyone’s needs adequately.
Benefits of an Independent Insurance Agent
Independent insurance agents have access to multiple insurance companies, ultimately finding you the best coverage, accessibility, and competitive pricing while working for you. Find an independent insurance agent in your community here.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin
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