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An insurance policy declaration page, also called a “dec” page, is a summary of your homeowners policy. It provides important information about your policy, like the policy number, the types of coverage you have, your premium and deductible amounts, and when the policy begins and ends. It also serves as your proof of coverage.
You’ll receive a declaration page whenever you purchase home insurance or make changes to your current policy.
Here’s what you need to know about your homeowners insurance declaration page:
Homeowners insurance declaration page explanation
Your declaration page summarizes a number of key details about your homeowners insurance policy, including:
At the top of the page, you’ll find the named insured — that’s you and anyone else covered under your insurance policy — and the home address. Your phone number may be included here as well.
This section also contains the contact information for your insurance company, insurance agent, and mortgage company.
You’ll see your policy number, policy type, and policy period listed on the dec page. The policy period indicates how long your coverage is in effect — six or 12 months, for example.
You’ll also see the effective date of the policy, which is the date your coverage starts, and the expiration date.
Coverages and limits
The declaration page lists the specific coverages included in your homeowners policy and the amount of coverage you have for each item. A typical policy has six coverages:
- Other structures
- Personal property
- Loss of use
- Personal liability
- Medical payments to others
These coverages are typically divided into two sections on your declaration page — property coverages (Section I) and liability coverages (Section II).
For example, on its declaration page example, the Maryland Insurance Association lists dwelling, other structures, personal property, and loss of use coverage in Section I, and the other two coverages in Section II.
Your deductible is the amount you pay before your insurance company pays on a claim. This section of the declaration page lists all the deductibles that apply to your policy.
The declaration page may list an “all peril” deductible, which means you pay a fixed amount for each claim you make on any loss, as long as the damages didn’t result from an event specifically excluded from your policy.
In practice, the insurance company subtracts the deductible from your claim amount before issuing payment. So, if you have a $1,000 deductible and file a claim for a $5,000 covered loss, your insurance will pay out $4,000 for the damages.
Your premium is the amount you pay for the insurance policy. The full amount listed on the declaration page isn’t necessarily due up front. You’ll likely pay your premium in monthly installments as part of your mortgage payment.
Insurance companies reduce your premium in a number of different circumstances. Any discounts applied will be listed in this section of your declaration page. For example, you might see a bundle discount listed here if you have multiple policies with the insurance company.
This section also shows discounts for equipment that reduces risk, such as a security system or smoke detector, as well as senior and loyal customer discounts.
Forms and endorsements
Your declaration page will dedicate a section to forms and endorsements, which are optional coverages you’ve added to your policy. The page will list each coverage along with how much each one added to your premium.
Depending on your insurance company and location, here are some common endorsements (also known as riders) that might be available to you:
- Sewer and water backup coverage
- Extended replacement cost (i.e., additional dwelling coverage)
- Coverage for jewelry and other valuables
- Inflation guard
- Service line coverage
- Equipment breakdown coverage
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How and when to get your homeowners insurance declaration page
You’ll receive your home insurance declaration page after you sign up for a new homeowners insurance policy. It’s usually the first page in the full homeowners policy document that your insurer provides. You can also view or print out your declaration page via your online account.
Your mortgage lender might require that you send a copy of the page periodically as proof of insurance. Comply with these requests as soon as you can — otherwise, the lender can purchase “force-placed” insurance on your behalf. If that happens, you’ll likely pay a higher premium.
What isn’t included in a homeowners insurance declaration page?
Your insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurance company. Although the declaration page summarizes vital details from the policy, you’ll have to look at the policy itself to review exactly what you’ve agreed to.
Here are some examples of things you won’t find on the declaration page:
- What perils your insurance covers
- Limits on coverage, such as for artwork or jewelery
- Exclusions, whether for certain perils, types of losses, or types of property. Earthquakes and intentional damage are common exclusions.
- Conditions you must meet for your claims to be paid. For example, you might have to take steps to protect your home against further damage, such as by tarping a damaged roof to prevent rain from coming in.
- Endorsements and riders you’ve added to change the terms of the standard policy. Common ones include coverage for perils like sewer and water backup, or expanded coverage for jewelry and other valuables.
Always review your homeowners insurance declaration page and the policy itself whenever you purchase new insurance or make changes to your existing coverage.
In the event you notice an error or realize the coverage you selected is insufficient, contact your insurance agent right away and make the changes needed to protect your home and belongings.
Disclaimer: All insurance-related services are offered through Young Alfred.