What Is a Declarations Page?
Your declarations page is a document that lists key information about your home insurance, such as policy limits and deductibles. It’s usually the first page or two of your policy.
What Information Is in a Declarations Page?
You may have heard your insurance agent refer to the dec or dec page of your homeowners insurance policy. That’s simply shorthand for declarations page, a document that lists details of your policy, including:
- Your name and any other individuals covered by the policy
- Your insurance provider
- Your mortgage lender
- Your home’s physical address
- Your policy number
- The type of policy it is (e.g., HO3)
- The limits you select for each coverage A-F
- Any additional endorsements
- Your deductible
- Your yearly premium
- Any discounts applied to your premium
- The dates the policy is in effect
When Do Homeowners Need a Declarations Page?
Your declarations page can be very handy in a couple of ways. For one, insurance policies are long and full of legalese. Your dec page puts all of the most useful information front and center. You don’t have to dig through a thick contract just to find your limit for medical payments or other structures when it’s time to make a claim.
This doesn’t mean you can skip reading your policy in its entirety. You still want to know the details of what’s covered and what’s excluded. However, the declarations page can be a big help when you need information fast.
You may also need your declarations page when:
- You’re switching insurance companies. New insurers will want proof of continuous coverage, which may qualify you for a discount. Some insurance providers won’t insure homes that don’t have previous coverage (with the exception of new homes).
- Your mortgage lender needs proof of insurance. Many mortgage companies want a copy of the dec page every year to make sure your home is adequately insured. Failure to keep your insurance may give your lender the right to place insurance on your behalf. A lender-placed policy is usually more expensive than home insurance you buy on your own. Plus, the lender may add the premium to your mortgage payments.
- You want to compare insurance policies. A declarations page is an easy way to make an apples-to-apples comparison when shopping for new coverage. You can compare your quote to your current policy’s coverage and limits as seen on the declarations page.
How to Check Your Declarations Page
You should review your declarations page when you first receive it and again whenever you change your home insurance. Here are a few things to check for:
- Names are correctly spelled.
- The address is correct.
- The limits, deductibles, and premiums are what you expect.
- Your discounts have been applied.
- You’ve received the correct coverage.
- Your endorsements are included.
Mistakes on the declarations pages don’t necessarily mean you have the wrong coverage, but it’s better to correct them before they become a problem.
What Isn’t Included on Your Declarations Page
There are a number of important details that you may not find on the dec page, including:
- Covered perils
- Excluded property
- Some optional coverages, like identity theft insurance
- Your duties and obligations when filing a claim
Additionally, some homeowners confuse the declarations page with two other important documents:
- Insurance bill. Considering the dec page lists their premium, it’s an easy mistake to make. However, your provider will send you a separate bill.
- Insurance binder. Your binder has much of the same information as the dec page, so it can be used as evidence of insurance. However, a binder is a temporary document. Once the binder expires, it does not prove you have coverage.
As always, if you have questions about your policy or your coverage, talk to your insurance agent.