A homeowners declaration page can be the worst kind of boring. So, let’s make it interesting!
What’s a “dec” page?
‘Dec’ page is short for declarations page. It’s actually simple. Think of it as the table of contents to the book called “Your Homeowners Policy.”
It’s usually pretty close to the front, and usually labeled quite clearly: homeowners declaration page.
It’s a summary of your coverage, and the important stuff like policy number, name of the policyholder, the address and property insured and the mortgage holder.Why should you review your ‘dec’ page every year?
Changes happen all the time. Mortgages get paid off, additions are made to the home, or a new piece of expensive jewelry was purchased.
The dec page is a quick, “at a glance” page that you should look at every time a new one comes in the mail. Even small omissions or errors can have a big impact at claim time. Some can be serious, or some can just be annoying. Let’s look at a common one.
“Jack” did what he always does every year when he gets his new homeowners policy in the mail... he tossed it onto “the pile.” Unopened. You know the pile. The “I’m gonna open it someday” pile.
A few months later, lightning struck Jack’s house, and there was a huge fire. Jack was OK, but now began the tedious task of working with the claims department.
Jack agreed with the insurance company on the Scope of Loss, and was ready for checks to start coming in. But they didn’t come.
When he called, he found out that the insurance company had sent the last three checks to his old mortgage company... even though Jack didn’t have a mortgage anymore.
Jack forgot to tell the insurance company that his mortgage had been paid off. If he had opened his policy, and read the ‘dec’ page, he would have seen this simple oversight. But the ‘dec’ page sat in “the pile.” Still unopened. And slightly charred.
Don’t be like Jack. Read your ‘dec’ page.
Why are all those capital letters on the dec page?
The coverage are labeled by letters. Typical homeowners policies have sections A, B, C, D, E and F.
The good news is that there is quite a bit of standardization in the insurance industry. So once you learn what each section covers, you will feel more in control of your coverage choices.
We’re going to look at each of these sections in my next few articles, staring in two weeks with coverage A, B and C.
Coverage A is dwelling coverage, B is other structures (think garage and shed), and C is personal property. For now, just think of A, B, and C as the “stuff you can touch” coverage.
Coverage D is loss of use. Think of it as room and board at the local hotel because your house is in ashes and smoke. There’s more to this of course, but we’ll cover that in later weeks.
Finally, there’s E and F, what I like to call “Somebody Got Hurt on Your Property” coverage.
This is an often-forgotten coverage, and it’s a very important part of your homeowners policy. So, we’ll spend time just on that in the coming weeks.
Go find your ‘dec’ page. If you can’t find it, call your agent and request a new one. Look it over and ask your agent about any parts that confuse you.
Make sure the address, mortgage holder, and policyholders are all correct. Call your agent if they aren’t.