Home Insurance Basics

What is home insurance?

Simply put, home insurance is protection. You pay your insurance company a premium (your bill) usually monthly, twice a year, or annually. That premium pays for your coverage for you, your home, and your belongings. The coverage is outlined in your insurance policy. 

How does it work?

When you buy home insurance from a company, they’ll ask about you, your home, and all your belongings. Based on your answers, they’ll give you information to help you choose how much insurance protection you need if your home, and its contents, were completely destroyed. This makes up your policy, a document that outlines what your insurance company agrees to protect.

When something happens to your home or things, you file a claim with your insurance company. That’s how you ask for payment to help you repair or replace something that’s protected under your policy. If the claim is covered, your insurance company will pay for the damage or loss, after you pay your deductible. Your deductible is the amount of money you pay on your own before your insurance kicks in.

How do I know what my deductible is?

You get to decide up front. If you choose a low deductible, you’re taking on less risk, so your premium will go up. A higher deductible means more risk for you, and your bill goes down.

Couple sitting in modern kitchen learning about deductibles from insurance agent

Do I need home insurance?

Unlike car insurance, you aren’t required by law to have home insurance. However, if you have a mortgage, your lender will probably require it to help protect their investment.

What's covered under a standard home policy?

A standard home policy will usually cover damage or loss, caused by events like storms, fires or theft. Here’s what’s typically covered:

  • Your home and anything attached to it, like your garage, flooring, and more (often called dwelling coverage) 
  • Other structures on your property, like sheds or fences
  • Your belongings, like electronics, furniture, clothing, and more (often called your personal property)
  • Lawsuits – you have a legal responsibility (liability) to people hurt in your home or on your property. Insurance will pay up to a certain amount, or limit, selected by you. Limits often range from $100,000 to $1,000,000.
  • Medical payments – if someone is hurt in your home or on your property, you may be responsible for their medical bills. Insurance will pay up to a certain amount, or limit, selected by you. Limits often range from $1,000 to $25,000.

These are the standard items you’ll find in most home insurance policies, but what if you need more? Explore our coverages to learn about what we have to offer.

These are some events (sometimes called perils) commonly included in home coverage. Please note that this is not an inclusive list. 

  • Fire or lightning
  • Hail
  • Windstorm
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Smoke
  • Falling objects, like trees
  • Weight of ice, sleet or snow
  • Electrical damage
  • Frozen pipes
  • Explosions (ex: from a gas grill)

Most standard home policies do not include coverage for:

  • Earthquake damage
  • Sump-pump failure
  • Sewer back-up
  • Floods – Flood insurance is only offered through the National Flood Insurance Program, backed by the federal government. Insurance companies can help you get it, but they don’t write the policy. 
  • Normal wear and tear or maintenance on your home 


While this list doesn’t include everything that’s not covered under a home insurance policy, it gives you a pretty good start. You can usually purchase additional coverage for some of the items listed above, with the exception of normal wear and tear and maintenance on your home.

What's the average cost?

It’s different for everyone. Just as factors like size and location affect the purchase price of a house; the cost of home insurance also varies based on things like: 

  • Location, age, size and condition of your home
  • How many and what types of claims you’ve had in the past
  • How much of the risk you take (your deductible)
  • The limits you select for liability and medical coverage

Ready to start?

Start online or call us at 844-347-6812. We'll help you find the insurance that works for you. 

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COUNTRY Financial® is the marketing name for the COUNTRY Financial family of affiliated companies (collectively, COUNTRY), which include COUNTRY Life Insurance Company®, COUNTRY Mutual Insurance Company®, and their respective subsidiaries, located in Bloomington, Illinois.

1 Please refer to your policy for specific coverages and terms related to your insurance. 

Home insurance policies issued by COUNTRY Mutual Insurance Company®, COUNTRY Casualty Insurance Company® or COUNTRY Preferred Insurance Company®, Bloomington, IL.