Although homeowner's insurance typically requires higher premium payments and may pay out larger claim amounts, it's functionally similar to more familiar types of coverage like auto and health insurance. In exchange for a monthly premium payment, the issuer of a homeowner's insurance policy may agree to make payouts on claims filed by the policy's holder. These claims must arise out of specific types of damages or losses and may be disputed or amended by the policy's issuer.
There are several different types of homeowner's insurance policies. Some make generous payouts in response to a wide variety of claims. Others are relatively stingy and may require claimed damages to meet high deductible thresholds before beginning to pay out on any claims. The upshot of these "stingy" policies is that they tend to be relatively affordable. As such, they may be ideal for homeowners who no longer have overhanging mortgage obligations.
Each homeowner's insurance policy comes with a "declaration page" that spells out its conditions and coverages in easy-to-understand terms. The declaration page covers all of the major points of coverage, including deductible amounts, coinsurance payments and payout limits. If the policy comes with any special conditions or riders attached to it, these will be outlined on the declaration page as well.
If you've recently taken out a homeowner's insurance policy, you should read the entire policy. While the declaration page is a useful reference resource that may help to answer your basic policy-related questions, it doesn't contain any of the "fine print" to which your policy is subject. This information can be found on the subsequent pages of your policy. Depending upon the local regulations that govern such documents, your entire homeowner's insurance policy is likely to be several dozen pages in length.
In some cases, the full text of your policy may be found online. If this is the case, your declaration page may be one of the only hard documents that you receive from your provider.
If you need to file a claim with your insurer, your declaration page will come in handy. Although your provider will have an electronic record of your policy on file, your declaration page serves as the legally-binding control document that must be used in the event of a coverage dispute. If you find inconsistencies between the electronic record of your policy and the declaration page, the information contained in the latter will serve as the "last word" on the matter.