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Residential Insurance Policies

People too often make the mistake of assuming that they have to own a home in order to get insurance [1] coverage, thinking their landlord’s policy will cover them in case of an insurable peril.

But, if you rent, own a condo or townhouse, a farm or ranch you need to purchase insurance to cover your property in case of misfortune.

And, even if you are a homeowner and have a standard homeowner’s insurance policy, there are some other types of residential insurance policies you should consider purchasing to cover your home in case of flood, earthquake or other perils your standard home insurance policy may not cover!

Read on to learn more about the types of residential insurance protection available.

Renters Insurance

A landlord’s insurance policy does not cover personal property belonging to tenants. If you rent, you should have renters insurance to cover your personal property, which can also cover your living expenses should you need to relocate in the event that a fire or other insurable peril occurs!


Similar to renters insurance, insurance on your condo also covers damage to any improvements, additions or alterations you have made to your condominium unit.

Check to be sure that your condominium has a master policy which covers your unit. If not, you may need an individual homeowner’s policy.

Townhouses and Town Homes

Depending on the form of ownership, a town house or town home may be insured under an individual homeowner’s insurance policy or it might be covered by an association master policy.

If your townhouse is owner-occupied and your townhouse association does not have a master policy, you definitely need to purchase your own homeowners insurance policy.

Mobile Homes

In most cases, a Mobile home without wheels or that sits on a permanent foundation will qualify for a homeowner’s insurance policy.

However, most mobile homes are insured by a mobile owner’s policy; actually an auto insurance policy, which provides limited coverage. Check with your insurance company or shop around for a home insurance policy that covers your Mobile home instead.

Farms and Ranches

Specialized insurance policies are provided for farm and ranch owners for homes that are outside city limits or on land that is used for agricultural purposes.

Check with your insurer to be certain your land is covered adequately for these purposes as required.

Other Types of Residential Insurance to Consider

If you have a standard homeowner’s policy, it generally has exclusions, based on where you live and other factors that may not cover your home adequately.

Some of the specialized home insurance coverage you may need include:

Flood Insurance

Most homeowner’s insurance policies DO NOT cover damage caused by floods. Especially if you live in a flood zone, you will want to look into a flood insurance policy, offered by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). You can visit www.floodsmart.gov [2] for more details.

Hurricane and Windstorm Insurance

As with flood insurance, if you live in an area that is susceptible to hurricanes and high winds, special coverage may be required. Be sure to get coverage in place well ahead of the hurricane season, because you definitely won’t be able to buy it when a storm is approaching!

Check with your insurer or state insurance department to find out what type of hurricane insurance is available in your area.

Earthquake Insurance

In most cases a standard homeowner’s, mobile home owners, condominium, or renters insurance policy DOES NOT cover earthquake damage; as with flood insurance, earthquake insurance is generally purchased separately.

In California and other earthquake-prone areas especially, it is advisable to consider specialized earthquake insurance, although it can be costly and in most cases will not cover the full replacement value of your home and belongings.

If you do not live in an area commonly plagued by earthquake you may be able to purchase such coverage relatively inexpensively if it if offered by insurers for your area. While it may not be a risk you choose to cover, having the added peace of mind could make sense since earthquakes do sometimes occur even in unlikely places!

Additional Property Coverage

There are additional types of coverage you can add to a base homeowner’s insurance policy.

Some insurance policies cover “related” expenses including removal of debris, damaged trees and shrubs, fire department service charges, removal of buildings, broken glass and other property destroyed by an insurable peril.

If your net worth is very high and you want to protect your assets, personal umbrella liability is recommended. Check with your insurer to know what the maximum liability coverage limits are with your standard policy and consider an umbrella policy if you need additional coverage.

Most standard homeowner’s policies do not cover the additional costs related to higher costs from new building codes versus the codes your home may have been built to previously. To cover these incremental rebuilding costs, you can purchase “building code upgrade ordinance or law supplemental coverage.