Dwelling Insurance

More limited than home insurance, this coverage might provide just what you need to protect your property.

Christine Lacagnina Written by Christine Lacagnina
Christine Lacagnina
Written by Christine Lacagnina

Christine Lacagnina has written thousands of insurance-based articles for TrustedChoice.com by authoring consumable, understandable content.

paul martin Reviewed by Paul Martin
paul martin
Reviewed by Paul Martin

Paul Martin is the Director of Education and Development for Myron Steves, one of the largest, most respected insurance wholesalers in the southern U.S.

What is it and do I need it? Find Dwelling Insurance.

Whether you own just one home or multiple, an alternative to homeowners insurance that may make sense for you is known as dwelling insurance. This coverage is more limited than full home insurance, but it may provide exactly what you need. However, it's critical to understand the differences in policies first.

An independent insurance agent can help you get set up with all the homeowners insurance or dwelling insurance you're looking for. They'll make sure you get the right type of coverage for your property. But first, here's a behind-the-scenes look at dwelling insurance and when and why you might choose it.

What Is Dwelling Insurance?

Dwelling insurance is a type of policy that covers the structure of a home and often additional structures that are directly attached to it. This can include a porch or deck, an attached garage, etc. Dwelling insurance is also often referred to as "second home insurance."

What’s the Difference Between Dwelling Insurance and Home Insurance?

Home insurance and dwelling insurance may seem the same at first glance, but they’re used for different situations. Knowing when you'd want to select dwelling insurance over homeowners insurance is key.

Homeowners insurance vs. dwelling insurance:

Home insurance: Dwelling insurance:
Homeowners insurance requires that you personally occupy your home. Dwelling insurance is designed to cover rental homes or properties that are not inhabited by the owner, similar to vacant property insurance.
It provides coverage for liability, structural damage or destruction, personal property damage or destruction, and additional living expenses. It generally provides coverage for the structure of the property and other attached structures only. However, you can also get a dwelling policy with minimal personal property, liability, and medical coverage.

While dwelling coverage is included in your standard homeowners policy, most people use separate dwelling insurance to provide coverage for a second home that they own but do not occupy. 

What Does Dwelling Insurance Cover?

Dwelling insurance is designed to provide reimbursement to repair, replace, or recover the value of the structure of the home and attached structures if it’s damaged due to certain causes. 

Dwelling insurance reimburses for the following perils:

  • Fire damage
  • Vandalism
  • Wind and hail damage
  • Lightning damage
  • Roof collapse
  • Falling objects and trees
  • Certain explosions

Check your policy for the full list of covered perils. Your independent insurance agent can help you.

What's Not Covered by Dwelling Insurance?

Dwelling insurance can protect the structure of a home from many disasters, but not just anything. Be sure to become familiar with your policy's exclusions, as well.

Dwelling insurance often won't cover:

  • Flood damage
  • Sewer backup damage (unless you add an endorsement)
  • Failure to maintain the property
  • Earthquake damage
  • Detached structures 

Detached structures like sheds, fences, etc., are covered by homeowners insurance, not dwelling insurance. Dwelling insurance will also not cover any personal belongings in the house, whether they are your possessions or those of the persons occupying your home. This is why dwelling insurance usually applies to second homes. 

How Much Does Dwelling Insurance Cost?

The cost of dwelling insurance depends on the insurance company you go through and how much coverage you need. The cost of your premiums also depends on the condition of your home. In general, it's cheaper than home insurance because it typically doesn’t include liability coverage.  

You’ll want enough insurance to rebuild your home and any attached structures should they get completely destroyed. Getting your house appraised first is a good way to determine how much dwelling coverage to get.

Can I Get Dwelling Insurance for My Condo or Apartment?

Dwelling insurance policies are generally not used for condos or apartments, but they can cover townhomes. A better policy for an apartment or condo would be an HO-6 insurance policy. 

The amount of dwelling coverage will be dependent on the insurance policy of your property's complex. Every condominium and apartment complex has a master insurance plan that will provide you with information about how much of the property you actually own. 

Based on that, you’ll want to make sure you’re covered for what you’re responsible for. An independent insurance agent can also advise you on the proper amount of coverage to get.

Why Do I Need Dwelling Insurance?

If you own a second home, dwelling insurance makes the most sense. You're responsible for physical damage to your property even if you don't live there full-time. At the same time, it’s not your responsibility to insure someone else’s possessions, so dwelling insurance will protect the structure of the building you own without providing extra coverage you don't need.

For those who own a single home, dwelling insurance can be a viable alternative to homeowners insurance. Not all properties are approved for homeowners insurance. Sometimes, the property just isn’t valuable enough, or the owner has bad credit or an extensive claims history, which could lead to them getting denied coverage. In this situation, dwelling insurance is easier to obtain than homeowners insurance. 


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Our independent agents shop around to find you the best coverage.

How to Find the Best Dwelling Insurance

Homeownership is complicated enough, and adding a second home to the mix can make it even more complex. With all the insurance options, it's best to turn to trusted experts: independent insurance agents. 

Be prepared to discuss all of your properties, your use for each, their location, and the structures at risk when you meet with an independent insurance agent. This will help them find the appropriate type and amount of insurance for you.

Compare Dwelling Insurance Quotes with an Independent Insurance Agent

Independent insurance agents are experts in finding you the right kind of dwelling insurance and any other type of coverage you need. They can shop and compare policies from tons of different insurance companies for you, then present you with only the best quotes together in one place. Also, they're available down the road to help you file claims if you ever need to. 

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