If you're a new homeowner, the idea of homeowner's insurance can be confusing. You've probably heard that there are many different types of homeowner's insurance. You may know that these policies' annual premiums can vary widely depending upon a multitude of factors. You may even know that very few homeowner's insurance policies cover flood damage or other seemingly random problems that can afflict a home.
Then again, you probably have a lot left to learn. Until you can pass your state's insurance test and become a licensed homeowner's insurance agent, there's always more to discover about this broad category of risk management. Before you take the plunge and purchase a homeowner's insurance policy of your own, take the time to peruse a few of the sample homeowner's insurance policies that litter the public domain.
If you've already been shopping for a homeowner's insurance policy, revisit the websites of the providers that you've investigated. Most reputable homeowner's insurance companies use a standard form issued by the Insurance Service Office. These forms are relatively easy to read, understand and complete. For several decades, they've served as industry-standard templates for American homeowner's insurance policies.
Look for these sample forms in the "Archive" or "Sample Forms" section of each insurer's website. If you can't find them in one of these locations, you may need to send an e-mail query to the provider or call its customer service department. Alternatively, you could simply move on to the next provider's website. After all, there are dozens of major homeowner's insurance companies with active North American operations.
Before viewing or printing an Insurance Service Office form, you'll need to verify that it's in the correct format. There are nearly a dozen different types of homeowner's insurance policies. Some are more common than others: Most homeowners use HO-1, HO-2 or HO-3 policies to protect the structural components and valuable contents of their homes. If you own a rental property or condominium, you'll need to view a different form in order to eliminate any potential confusion. If you conduct certain other types of business in your home, you may need to view additional forms as well.
Although these forms are technically part of the public domain, you may not be able to use them to apply for homeowner's insurance. In many jurisdictions, the offer of homeowner's insurance can only be made by prospectus. In order to complete a proper application and receive a formal acceptance, you'll need to correspond with your insurer via certified mail.