What is a homeowners insurance declarations page?

A homeowners declarations page summarizes key home insurance policy information.

“A homeowners declaration page is the page that explains the coverage you bought. It's not all of the details of exactly what's covered and when, but it gives the outline of the coverages you're paying for, how much coverage you have, what deductibles you're responsible for in an accident, and how much each piece costs,” says Kate Terry, co-founder and CEO of Surround Insurance.

And while it may be called a “page,” a homeowners insurance declarations page isn’t necessarily just one page.

“It can be two or three or four pages. So keep flipping if you're not sure that you've gotten all the way to the end,” says Terry.

What is included in the homeowners declarations page?

A homeowners declaration page typically includes the following:

  • Name of the insured
  • Address of the insured property
  • Policy number and coverage period
  • Areas of coverage
  • Coverage limits
  • Deductibles
  • Discounts
  • Premiums/total policy costs

The exact information on a homeowners declaration page can vary depending on the provider, but the document generally covers the same basics.

When reviewing a homeowners declaration page, you want to ensure that everything is accurate, including confirming that the location of the insured property is correct.

“Because if the address is wrong, then you'll have coverage someplace else, not your own home. I've seen that happen,” says Terry.

Also, you should confirm that the limits for different coverage areas align with your needs.

For example, Coverage A (or dwelling coverage) is the coverage limit for the house itself. Other coverage areas, like other structures on your property, personal property, etc., have different corresponding letters. While looking at all of these areas is important, you might pay extra attention to Coverage A, since many other coverages are a percentage of that amount.

“It covers the cost to rebuild your home if it was totally destroyed,” says Terry. “It's not the market value of your property. It doesn't include the land, but it does include rebuilding the home. And what is critically important is that your insurance company and your insurance agent are not responsible for making sure that number is correct.”

So, she says, considering issues like inflation for building materials and higher labor costs, you might want to calculate your home’s replacement cost to ensure accuracy.

“It's usually pretty inexpensive to bump that coverage up a little bit and might save you a lot of heartache,” adds Terry.

What is not included on the homeowners declarations page?

While a homeowners declaration page includes important summary information, it does not go into much detail.

“It does not tell you what is excluded, and it doesn't really tell you what's explicitly included as well,” says Terry. “Usually behind the declarations page, you'll find the policy documents.”

Those policy documents more explicitly lay out what’s covered and what’s excluded, as opposed to just listing your coverage types and limits as the declarations page does. These policy documents “could be anywhere from 10 to 50 pages depending on how verbose your insurance company is and how much coverage you bought. Those are a little bit harder to read, obviously, because they're more detailed, although they're supposed to be written in plain language,” says Terry.

“You definitely should ask your agent or carrier if there are pieces that you don't understand. It's their job to explain them and you should pay very careful attention to exclusions because if something is excluded, an insurance company will not pay for it under any circumstance,” she adds.

Why is the declarations page of a homeowners insurance policy so important?

The declarations page of a homeowners insurance policy is important because it lays out the key aspects of your coverage and can often be used as proof of homeowners insurance. If someone needs to verify that you have a certain amount of coverage for given areas, like personal liability, then the declarations page could easily provide that information.

“The other reason to use a declarations page is if you're shopping for insurance,” says Terry. Looking at what’s laid out in the declarations page can help you see your exact coverage today in comparison to what another provider is offering in areas like deductibles and policy limits.

“You always want to start with the same apples-to-apples comparison so that you have a sense of which one is truly less expensive,” says Terry.

When do you need a homeowners declarations page?

The situations where you need a homeowners declarations page can vary, but often it has to do with providing proof of coverage, like when refinancing a mortgage.

“Sometimes whoever's asking you for proof of coverage may want a declarations page, or they may want a certificate from the insurance company. But they'll usually tell you which they want if they care,” says Terry.

How to get a home insurance declarations page?

To get a home insurance declarations page, you can ask your insurance agent or carrier. You will receive one at renewal time, and you might be able to download a copy by logging into your insurer’s website or app, if applicable.