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Homeowners FAQs

You probably know that home insurance is designed to protect your home from the unexpected, but understanding everything about your policy and protection can get a little tricky. That’s why we created homeowners insurance FAQs to help answer your top questions and give you confidence in your coverage.

About Home Insurance

  1. Great question! To understand how your home insurance protects you, it’s important to first understand what it even means. Homeowners insurance is protection for your home that helps cover repairs or replacements to your home’s structure, belongings and even covers you if you’re liable for injury to another person or damage to their property.

    Your standard home insurance policy includes essential coverages that offer protection from a specific set of common damages. You have the option to customize your policy and purchase additional coverages as they fit your unique needs. Take a look at our homeowners insurance overview page to better understand how home insurance protects you and your family.

  2. Take a look at your neighbor — no two homeowners are alike! That’s why we offer a variety of unique ways to protect your home. From property damage to personal liability, we work with you to build a policy that’s customized for you and your growing dreams. Here are just a few examples of the protection we offer — but your American Family agent can help you explore all your options!

    • Your homeowners policy helps cover property damage from things like fire, lighting, windstorms, hail, explosions, smoke, vandalism and theft.
    • If you can’t live in your home due to a covered loss, we’ll help cover temporary housing expenses while it’s being repaired.
    • Personal property coverage protects the possessions inside your home — iPads, laptops, TVs, jewelry, artwork, collectibles, tools, firearms, etc. However, each policy has a limit on this coverage. Talk to your agent about adding scheduled property coverage and replacement cost value coverage so your items will be replaced at their current cost — it’s a great idea if you have valuable jewelry or collectibles.
    • You’ll also have liability protection, so if someone is accidentally hurt on your property and you’re legally liable, your liability coverage will help cover costs of medical expenses or resulting legal fees.

    Take a look at our home insurance checklist to learn more about how your homeowners insurance protects you and your family.

  3. The amount of home insurance coverage you need depends on a number of factors. But most importantly, you should have enough protection to cover the costs of rebuilding your home and replacing all of your possessions in the event of the unexpected. Try out our homeowners insurance calculator — it’s quick, easy to use and it’ll help you better determine what kind of coverage you need for your home.

    Our homeowners insurance checklist is also a great resource that breaks down homeowners insurance step by step to help you better understand your unique home insurance needs.

  4. Yes, you can adjust your coverage. Are you planning on tackling a home remodeling project, like a newly furnished basement or an upgrade to your bathroom? Your home’s value and the cost to rebuild it will probably go up and you’ll want to make sure you get additional coverage to match your home’s new value. Even the purchase of something valuable, like a home theater, is a good time to contact your agent.

    Take a look at the benefits of a personal insurance review to find out if you need to check in with your agent and make any changes to your homeowners insurance coverage.

  5. Because homeowners insurance is different for each person, and involves such important details, we’ll work directly with you to make sure you get the customized quote you need to make a smart decision. Simply start your quote online, call  1-800-MYAMFAM or get in touch with your agent. No matter how you reach us, we’ll help you get started protecting your home right away.
  6. The value of your personal property can add up quickly! So creating a home inventory list is one of the smartest things you can do to ensure you’re properly covered. A home inventory will help you and your agent determine how much coverage you actually need. And we have the tools to help! We’ve created a simple home inventory list that you can print off and use to track the items in your home and their value. Check it out!

  7. You decide. As the homeowner, you get to select the insurer and the coverage that’s right for you, as long as your coverage meets the minimum requirements set by your mortgage company.

  8. Personal property coverage covers personal property that’s owned or used by you — no matter where you are in the world. For example, your luggage, jewelry, clothing, purses and electronics are considered personal property and will all be covered under your policy. But keep in mind, your personal property is only covered up to your policy limit and, depending on its category, there are special caps on the amount we’ll pay out in the event of a loss.

    For example, your standard homeowners insurance policy covers the jewelry, gemstone, watches and furs category up to $2,000. Meaning, we’ll only pay $2,000 at most for a covered loss to these items. If your items are worth more than that, you can add on scheduled property coverage to increase your limits for those types of items.

    Find out more about replacement cost value and actual cash value for your personal property.

Property and Liability Coverages

  1. For an additional premium, you can add personal injury coverage to your policy. Remember, personal injury insurance isn’t actually for a physical injury to yourself. This coverage actually protects you from claims such as libel or slander (which is writing or saying something about someone that hurts their reputation or business), false arrest, detention or imprisonment, as well as wrongful eviction, entry or other invasion of right to private occupancy. Any of these can result in expensive law suits, which is also covered by personal injury insurance.

  2. If you’re growing your entrepreneurial dreams from your home, contact your agent to discuss eligibility and coverage options. Our home office coverage can give you additional liability protection for your small-scale home based business. Your agent can help you evaluate whether or not this type of coverage is suitable for your type of business — just ask!
  3. Did you come home to find your living room or basement flooded with water? We don’t wish that kind of stress on anyone, but thankfully, if you do face water damage caused by internal plumbing issues or a burst pipe, we’ll do what we can to help you get things back in order. The dwelling protection on your homeowners insurance policy may help cover repairs, and your personal property coverage can help pay to repair or replace belongings (e.g. furniture, electronics, clothes) that were ruined from the water.

    It’s important to keep in mind that, while we will protect you from accidents that aren’t in your control, we won’t provide protection for long term maintenance or neglect. For example, if your pipe has a long-term leak due to lack of maintenance on your end, you’ll be accountable for paying for damages.

  4. No problem – we’ve got your back! Coverage is provided for this kind of problem. However, keep in mind that it’s your responsibility to maintain your heat if you leave the water on while you’re away.

  5. You bet. Your homeowners insurance covers you for acts of vandalism, including things like graffiti, broken outdoor lights and windows, arson, glued locks, etc. Find out more about how your home insurance protects you from vandalism.
  6. Personal liability coverage can help protect you, whether you’re at home or away from it, if you’re found responsible for bodily injury to someone or damage to their property.

    Your personal liability coverage covers you up to your policy limit, so if you want an added layer of protection, ask your agent about how adding umbrella insurance to your home could benefit you.

  7. Accidents happen, and if you’re involved you can be held liable for associated costs, like medical expenses or lawsuits. Having this coverage gives you peace of mind that you’re protected if you’re responsible for bodily injury or property damage to another person. Talk to your agent about the peace of mind liability coverage can give you.

  8. Yep! If your home is unfit for habitation due to a covered loss, we want to help you maintain the same standard of living. That’s why your homeowners insurance can help pay for additional living expenses — such as food and a hotel — while repairs are being made. You’ll also hear this type of coverage called loss of use.

  9. We do provide coverage to have the trees removed when necessary to repair or replace damaged property, or if they’re blocking your driveway or ramp for the handicapped. We also cover the trees themselves for damage caused by certain losses, like fire, vehicles or vandalism.

    If your homeowners insurance policy includes “falling objects” as a covered peril, your home will be covered for damages caused by a fallen tree.

  10. Yes, your policy includes debris removal, which means we’ll pay any reasonable and necessary expenses for the removal of debris in your yard (e.g. what’s left of your home after a fire) — as long as the debris came from a covered loss like a storm, fire or other incident that was covered by your policy.

  11. Unfortunately, no. Because they’re not insured under your homeowners policy they do not get the property or liability coverage that you do. They’ll need to purchase their own coverage to protect their stuff. We can help them with that, though!

  12. If your home is an area of the country where earthquakes have been known to occur, earthquake coverage is an available option to add to your policy. Connect with your agent to learn more.

  13. Though a standard homeowners policy does not cover flood damage, you have options for protection. American Family offers an optional Inland Flood coverage* designed to protect against damage from certain types of floods. Another option is to get coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program.

    Your American Family agent is a great resource to help you find the coverage best for you — connect with them and they’ll help you add the right protection.

  14. Everything can change in an instant if a guest in your home is injured and you’re held responsible. And although the liability coverage provided in your homeowners policy can help with those costs, umbrella liability insurance gives you an extra layer of coverage to protect your hard-earned dreams — now and in the future. Have more questions about umbrella liability insurance and if you should add it to your policy? Your American Family agent is ready to help.

  15. While most breeds won’t impact your eligibility for coverage, there are some breeds that require additional considerations. An American Family Insurance agent can help you determine the specific requirements for insurability based on the breed of your dog.

  16. We LOVE pets — they’re part of the family! Your home, renters or condo policy will typically provide financial protection against liability claims and lawsuits brought by others for accidental bodily injury or damage to their property. This includes paying for medical expenses if your dog injures someone or helping cover costs if your dog destroys someone else’s property. You may also want to consider umbrella insurance, which gives you an extra layer of protection against liability claims.

    However, having this coverage alone won’t cover Fido — or your cats, birds or fish. Instead, we offer a special add-on pet coverage. It can provide up to $1000 for veterinarian or final expenses for your dog, cat, fish or bird as a result of a covered loss.

    Your American Family agent can share all the details and help you plan protection for your friends. Here’s some more info about how your homeowners insurance protects your dog.

  17. In most cases, your home, renters or condo policy includes some liability coverage for instances where your dog injures someone, like if they knock your mother in law over when greeting her and she breaks her wrist. Remember, this amount is up to the limit listed on your policy. To be safe, it’s always a good idea to have additional coverage when you have a dog.

    And keep in mind, not all dogs will meet the criteria to be included under your policy. Your agent would be happy to check if your dog is eligible and explain the limits of the liability coverage.

  18. Whether out walking Fido or playing in your yard, the liability portion of your homeowners insurance policy will typically help cover you if your dog bites someone or if they bite another animal. If you’re covered, it’ll only be up to the limit listed on your policy, which is why it may be in your best interest to consider getting additional coverage by having an umbrella policy.

Discounts, Payments & Premiums

  1. There are a bunch of different discounts available for homeowners like you! Take a look at all the ways you can save on your home insurance. Your agent is happy to check which ones you might qualify for!

  2. You can get the process rolling online by starting a quote, but because your homeowners policy is built just for you, it takes some in-person conversations to put it all together. That’s why it’s important to work directly with an agent to purchase your policy — they'll make sure your unique dreams are protected.

    Want to impress your agent? Take a look at our homeowners insurance checklist — it’ll prepare you with key info about home insurance and questions you can ask your agent.

  3. Your homeowners insurance policy has an effective date that’s the starting date of your policy (when you’ll be covered). Be sure to check that the effective date aligns with ownership of the home you’re purchasing. This way you ensure there’s no time period when you wouldn’t have insurance coverage for the dream you’ve worked so hard to purchase. A quick conversation with your agent will help ensure there are no misunderstandings.
  4. Saving on your premiums is easy! From installing qualifying smart home devices to combining your home and auto coverage, your smart habits can save you money. Take a look at some of the ways you could save with our home insurance discounts.


  5. We’re always on the lookout for ways to make your life easier. That’s why we offer several ways to pay your bill:

    • Online Billing Receive your bills online and set up your payments however you like. Enroll now
    • Automated Funds Transfer (AFT) — Payments are automatically deducted from your checking or savings account. A bill is sent only when changes are made to your billing account. Contact your agent for set-up assistance. Learn more.

    • Pay Now — Make a one-time payment online. Learn more.

    • Pay by Phone  Call 1-866-424-8002 to pay using our automated phone system.

    • Online Bank or Bill Payer Service  Set up electronic payments through an online bank or bill payer service. Learn more.

    • Pay by Mail  Mail your payment using the detachable payment stub on your bill. Learn more.

    Not to mention, you could save on your policy if you take advantage of our AutoPay, Full Pay and Paperless Discounts!

  6. The easiest and most convenient way to cancel a policy with American Family insurance is to call your agent. Not sure how to reach yours? Find them using our agent locator.

    Our customer care center is also available 24/7 at 1-800-MYAMFAM (1-800-692-6326) — they can help direct you to your agent or submit a cancellation request form to your agent on your behalf.

*Coverage provided by adding the Inland Flood optional endorsement. This endorsement does not satisfy mandatory flood insurance coverage should it be required by your federally regulated lender for your home mortgage or loan. This insurance product is not affiliated with the National Flood Insurance program (NFIP).

Some coverages or limits may not be available in your state. Refer to your policy documents for coverage limit details. Coverage applies after the property deductible has been met. Please speak with your agent to learn more about your coverage options.

Inland Flood coverage not available for manufactured homes.