second home insurance

What Is Homeowners Insurance?

There’s no place like home – and our homeowners insurance is built with that in mind. It’s designed to protect you from disasters big and small. When something goes astray, you can click your ruby slippers together – or, rather, make a claim on your policy – and get your home back to how it once was.

Homeowners insurance covers:

  • The actual structure of your home, inside and out (this is Coverage A in your policy).
  • Other structures, like your garage, fences, and sheds (Coverage B). 
  • Your belongings that make your house a home (Coverage C). 
  • Loss of use when an event forces you to temporarily relocate (Coverage D).
  • Your personal liability if you’ve accidentally caused someone bodily injury or property damage (Coverage E).
  • Medical expenses when a guest has a small injury at your home (Coverage F).

You’re usually required to have home insurance if you have a mortgage. Even if you don't, homeowners insurance is essential protection for perhaps one of your life’s biggest investments.

Let’s learn more about how home insurance works. If you have a condo or mobile home, skip over here to learn about our condo insurance and mobile home insurance.

Your Home Insurance Policy at a Glance

These are the types of protection a typical home insurance policy offers. Click the icons below to learn what each part of your policy covers (and excludes) in more detail.

What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?

Homeowners insurance covers your dwelling, personal property, and other structures from damage caused by:

  • Fire / smoke damage
  • Hurricanes
  • Hail
  • Lightning
  • Theft
  • Water damage from burst pipes and appliance flooding
  • And more

The type of homeowners insurance policy you have determines how many events are covered. For example, we only offer HO3 policies for single-family homes. That’s because this kind of policy offers the most protection – your home is covered for all perils except those the policy explicitly excludes. Learn more about covered perils.

What Home Insurance Doesn't Cover

Homeowners insurance policies typically don’t cover damage or loss caused by:

  • Earthquakes
  • Flooding
  • General wear and tear
  • Negligence (or lack of regular and proper maintenance)
  • Business liability

However, you can always customize your Kin policy to get extra protection. For example, if you’re in Florida, you can add on flood insurance for as little as $174 a year. If you’re in California, we can add on earthquake insurance to better protect your home.

Homeowners Insurance Coverage Levels Explained

Not all insurance policies are created equal. Your policy can pay for claims differently depending on the coverage level you choose:

  • Actual cash value coverage. This type of policy only pays the depreciated value of your home or lost belongings. In other words, it only pays for what they’re worth, not what you paid for them or what it really costs to replace them.
  • Replacement cost coverage. This pays for what it actually costs to rebuild your home or replace your belongings at the current market rate. Unlike actual cash value, this doesn’t subtract depreciation from your claim payout.
  • Additional coverage A. Also called guaranteed or extended replacement cost coverage, this is an inflation buffer in case building and repair costs soar when you need to make a claim. For example, with Kin, this offers more coverage than you purchased, extending your dwelling coverage limits by 25 percent.

All Kin policies are offered on a replacement cost basis. That’s because we want you to be able to bring your home back to its original glory when you need to. It’s one less thing to worry about when you’re dealing with a major loss.

Who Needs Homeowners Insurance?

All homeowners need home insurance. New homeowners need homeowners insurance in place to close on their house if they have a mortgage lender. And yes, you still need insurance even if you’ve paid off your mortgage (congratulations!).

Why? Because losses are expensive.

For example, a fire claim costs $68,322 on average. They are also the second most common home insurance claim. Total losses – instances where fires destroyed the whole home – are even costlier.

It costs about $150 per square foot to build a home. So if you have a 1,500 square foot house, you could be looking at $225,000 in construction costs alone.

Imagine paying that out of pocket!

How Much Homeowners Insurance Do I Need?

How much home insurance you need depends on the replacement cost of your home. This is calculated roughly by the square footage of your home multiplied by building costs per square foot. 

For your belongings, other structures, and additional living expenses, the general rule is to have at least 20 percent of your dwelling insurance. So if your home is insured for $300,000, you’d want about $60,000 for each.

If you have high-value belongings and fixtures, it might make sense to increase that coverage to 50 percent of your dwelling.

Choosing Your Coverage Limits

Type of Coverage

Standard Limits


Up to the replacement cost of the interior (we calculate this for you)

Other Structures

10% to 20% of the coverage you have for your dwelling

Personal Property

20% to 50% of the coverage you have for your dwelling

Loss of Use

20% of the coverage you have for your dwelling

Personal Liability


Medical Payments


How Are Homeowners Insurance Rates Determined?

The biggest factor in how much home insurance costs is where you live. Your state, city, or even your neighborhood can indicate the likelihood of loss. The more claims an area has, the higher the insurance rates will usually be.

For example, coastal communities in Florida besieged with hurricanes or rural areas in California suffering wildfires are becoming more and more expensive to insure. Insurance companies have to price these policies to address the increased risk and the chance of paying a lot of claims at once.

It’s also worth noting that a home’s claims stay on the record for three to seven years, even if the claim came from a previous owner. 

But a lot of other factors can affect homeowners insurance premiums, too, including:

  • Your home’s construction, roof type, and age.
  • Your home’s heating, cooling, electrical, and plumbing.
  • Attractive nuisances – a fun way to refer to trampolines or swimming pools, things known to tempt trespassers or cause injury.
  • The deductibles you choose – the higher the deductible, the lower the premium.
  • The coverage types and amounts you choose.
  • Your home’s safety features – these can fetch you some common home insurance discounts.

When you apply for homeowners insurance, make sure to ask about available discounts. Our quotes are customizable, too, so you can see how your coverage types and amounts impact your premium in real time.

Types of Homeowners Insurance Policies

These are the different policy forms insurance companies use to write home insurance policies. Learn what they mean for your coverage (spoiler: Kin offers HO-3 policies for single-family homes).

How to Choose the Right Homeowners Insurance