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When you purchase a home insurance policy, you may feel overwhelmed by the paperwork you receive, but learning to read your insurance policy is an important step in helping you understand the coverage you have. While your entire policy is important, one of the most important parts is your declarations page. Bankrate breaks down the information included on a declarations page so you can feel confident in reviewing your policy.
What is a homeowners insurance declarations page?
If you’re learning how to read a home insurance policy, it can be a good idea to start with the declarations page, which is essentially a snapshot of your coverage. Some home insurance companies will refer to it as the dec page or the policy declaration page.
Here is a list of information that can usually be found on your declarations page of insurance:
- Insurance company name and contact details: Usually, you can find these at the top of your declarations page.
- Policy information: Your declarations page will also include your policy number and the effective dates of the policy.
- Personal information: Your name, location address and mailing address (if different from the location) will be listed on your dec page, as well as information about your mortgage. You may also see your date of birth listed.
- Coverage information: This is the bulk of your declarations page. You’ll see limits for your standard coverage types, as well as any endorsements you’ve added to your policy. Your deductible amount will also be listed.
- Discounts: You may see the discounts you have applied to the policy listed on your declarations page. Some companies also list other available discounts, so you can see if you are missing any savings opportunities.
- Premium: Your declaration page will list your overall premium and may also list the amount of premium you pay for each individual coverage.
When you purchase a new insurance policy, review your declarations page and make sure the information is accurate. Do not wait until you need to file a claim before realizing an error, like an incorrect deductible.
If you have questions about anything listed on your declarations page, reach out to an agent.
Why is a declarations page important?
Your homeowners insurance declarations page contains valuable policy information. It’s often easier to get quick information from your declarations page rather than reading through your entire policy. You may need to review your declarations page in these scenarios:
You need to file a claim
If your home or personal belongings are damaged or you think you are liable for someone’s injury or property damage, you may want to review your declarations page.
Any time you think you might have grounds to file a claim, consider checking your policy. Your declarations page contains information about the coverage types and limits you have included on the policy, although more detailed information will be included further into the policy language, known as the “policy jacket.” Understanding what your policy covers could help you avoid surprises when you file a claim.
You have a question about your coverage limits
If you’re not sure how much coverage you have, your declarations page can help. Your coverage limit is the highest amount of money the insurance company will pay for a covered loss. Each individual coverage — including dwelling, personal property and other structures coverage — generally has a coverage limit. Understanding your limits can help you determine if a loss will be covered fully by the insurance company or if you will need to pay a portion of the expenses out of pocket.
You want to lower your premium
At some point, you may decide that your home insurance premium is too high, and you want to find ways to save money. On your declarations page, you will see how much you pay and you may also be able to see if any discounts have been applied.
Review your declarations page to see your coverage limits, deductible and any add-on coverage options that could be increasing your rate. If you decide to change insurance companies, you can review your current declarations page to make sure you are getting an apples-to-apples comparison with other insurers.
How to get an insurance declarations page
After purchasing an insurance policy, you will receive a copy of your entire policy, including the declarations page. This document might be provided in hard copy form or sent electronically, depending on your insurance company and the option you selected when signing up for your policy.
If you have a copy of your insurance policy forms on hand, your declarations page will be at the front of the document. It will usually contain a heading that says “Declarations Page” or a similar designation. If you do not have a copy of your insurance policy, you can easily get one from your insurance provider by calling an agent or contacting the company’s customer service team.
Once you get a new copy, keep one easily accessible in case you have to file another claim. Some agents recommend having a second copy that you keep somewhere outside your home in case important documents get damaged. Consider scanning the document and saving it digitally.
If you’re having trouble reading your policy, an insurance agent can walk you through it.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, a declarations page can function as proof of coverage. If you need to show proof of insurance, maybe for a mortgage lender, your declarations page will usually be accepted as evidence. If more in-depth information is needed, it may be best to ask your insurance agent to talk to your mortgage lender directly.
Your insurance declarations page is usually the first page of your insurance policy. You can easily identify the page because it will contain information about you, your insurance company, your coverages, your premium and your home address. The format will be different for each company, but it will usually say “Declarations Page” or something similar at the top.
Yes. If you make a change to your home insurance policy, you’ll likely get a new declarations page. You may get other updated policy documents as well, depending on what you changed. If you switch home insurance companies entirely, you’ll get a brand-new policy from the new company, including a declarations page.
A certificate of insurance (COI) is not the same as an insurance declaration page, although the two have a few things in common. In general, both documents will list the name of your insurance provider and their NAIC number, your policy number, the policy start and end dates and other coverage details — but the main difference is their purpose. In general, a COI is used to provide proof of insurance, while a declaration page is primarily for the policyholder’s reference and goes into greater detail about your coverage levels. While you may use your declaration page as proof of insurance, it contains more sensitive policyholder information, so some homeowners may feel more comfortable using their COI instead.