When you first purchase homeowners insurance, an agent will typically explain your policy in-depth. If you have to file a claim down the line, you might need to read through your policy to see what is covered. If you have never read an insurance policy before, it can be overwhelming.
The most important information about your coverage will be located on the insurance declarations page. This article will explain what a declarations page is, where you can find yours, and why you should have yours on file.
What is a homeowners insurance declarations page?
A homeowners insurance declarations page is typically the first page or pages of the home insurance policy document you receive when you purchase insurance. Depending on your policy, the declarations page can be several pages long. Some insurance companies will refer to it as the DEC page or the policy declaration page.
Your homeowners declarations page contains the most relevant information about your policy. Think of it as your go-to guide for everything related to your home insurance. If your home gets damaged and you need to file a claim, it can be helpful to review your declarations page so you know what is covered and what is not.
Here is a list of information that can usually be found on your declarations page of insurance:
- Add-on coverages: You can usually find these in the coverages section toward the middle of your declarations page. This will list any additional coverages you have chosen to include in your policy, like optional sewer and drain backup coverage.
- Coverage limits: In that same middle section, you should see a dollar amount next to each type of coverage on your homeowners insurance declarations page. This is the maximum amount your insurance provider will pay out for a loss that falls under that coverage category.
- Coverages included: Just like your add-on coverages, the included coverages are usually listed in the middle of your declarations page. This section will overview what your policy includes, like coverage for your dwelling, other structures and your personal property.
- Deductible: You can usually find your deductible — the amount you will pay out-of-pocket from a covered loss — listed in the middle of the declarations page, next to your coverages.
- Discounts applied: Any discounts your insurance provider applied to bring down the cost of your coverage will most commonly be listed toward the end of your homeowners declarations page.
- Insurance company name and contact details: Usually, you can find these at the top of your declarations page.
- Liability coverage limits: Just like your other coverage limits, the cap on your liability coverage should be in the middle of your declarations page.
- Losses that are not covered: Some insurance providers may list specifically excluded coverages — like flood and earthquake — with the coverages in the middle of the page.
- Named insureds, like banks or mortgage companies: You can most commonly find these details, or the people and organizations the policy protects (yourself included), toward the top of the page.
- Policy effective and expiration date: These key policy details show when your coverage is in effect. You will usually see these dates listed toward the top of the page.
- Policy number: Most companies list this number at the top of the homeowners insurance declarations page. This is the number the company will reference if you need to file a claim or call with questions about your policy. It essentially acts as an identification number for you.
- Policyholder’s name and address: You should see your personal information at the top of the page. Make sure everything is listed accurately.
- Premium: Your premium is the amount you pay for your homeowners insurance policy. Your declarations page may list how you will pay your premium, too (e.g., monthly, quarterly, in-full at the start of your policy term). Usually, your premium information will be at the end of the page.
- Type of policy: If you look at your homeowners declarations page, you should see homeowners or home insurance somewhere toward the top, indicating that the policy applies to your home.
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 a wrong deductible or policy type.
If you have questions about anything listed on your declarations page, reach out to an agent.
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.
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.
Why is a declarations page important?
Your homeowners insurance declarations page is the most important portion of your insurance policy. It contains valuable information that you need to know as a homeowner. Not only does it contain a detailed list of what your policy covers and your coverage limits, but it also has information about your premium and any other fees you are being charged.
Many people never look at their declarations page because they assume they will never have to file a claim. However, home insurance claims are more common than you think. You do not want to wait until something happens before reviewing your policy documents. Here are some common situations that would require you to read your declarations page:
You need to file a claim
If your home or personal belongings get damaged or you think you are liable for someone’s injury or property damage, you need to review your declarations page.
Any time you think you might have grounds to file a claim, check your policy. Your declarations page contains detailed information about what is covered under your policy and what is not covered. If you have endorsements, that information will be included as well.
You have a question about your coverage limits
If you have to file a claim and confirm that the loss is covered under your policy, you will need to figure out the coverage limit. Your coverage limit is the highest amount of money the insurance company will pay towards a covered loss. This 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 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 if any discounts have been applied.
Review your declarations page to see your coverage limits, deductible and any add-on coverages 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.
Frequently asked questions
Is a declarations page proof of insurance?
If you need to show proof of insurance, maybe for a mortgage lender, they will usually accept your declarations page as evidence. However, your insurance company will provide separate evidence of insurance form with your policy documents, which is typically preferred as proof.
What does an insurance declarations page look like?
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.