A Home of My Own


Insurance means protection from loss. You can purchase insurance for all kinds of things. In addition to health insurance, there’s homeowner’s insurance, renter’s insurance, auto insurance, and more. When planning to live independently, consider what types of insurance you may need.

Homeowner’s Insurance 

Homeowner’s insurance is meant for individuals who own their own home, and protects your home and your personal property. It may also protect you against lawsuits if someone gets hurt on your property. When purchasing any kind of insurance, always shop around and compare coverage and price. 

What are the Different Types of Coverage?

Homeowner’s insurance policies usually contain a package of coverages that offers protection when a peril occurs. A peril is the cause of a possible loss, like a fire. 

Here are some of the most common types of coverage:

  • Dwelling coverage pays for damage to your house and structures attached to your house, such as attached garages. This includes damages to fixtures such as plumbing, electrical wiring, heating, and permanently installed cooling systems.
  • Other Structures coverage pays for damage to structures not attached to the dwelling. These include detached garages, sheds, fences, guest houses, etc.
  • Personal Property coverage reimburses you for damage to—or theft of—your personal property. This covers things like furniture, appliances, electronics, lawn equipment, clothing, etc. It also protects your belongings even when they aren’t on your property. Be sure to ask your agent if your medical equipment is covered.
  • Loss of Use coverage pays for additional living expenses if you can’t live in your home (because of a covered loss) while it’s being repaired.  
  • Personal Liability protects you, your relatives in the household, and residents in your household under the age of 21 if you are sued and found legally responsible for injury or damage to their property. This coverage also extends to students under the age of 24 enrolled full-time at school or college (with certain exceptions). If you have someone helping you at home, ask your agent, “What happens if someone gets hurt?”
  • Medical Payments to Others provides coverage for medical bills for people hurt on your property or hurt by your pets. 

Helpful Tip!

Here’s some more information about insurance companies:

  • By law, insurance companies are prohibited from charging different rates based on an applicant’s race, religion, disability, national origin, and gender.
  • Many insurance companies will allow you to bundle your policy with another policy, like your homeowner’s with your auto insurance, making the cost cheaper than purchasing two separate policies.

What Doesn’t Your Homeowner’s Insurance Cover?

What is covered depends on the policy you buy. There are some common exclusions like flood, landslides, and earthquakes. Be sure to talk to your agent or insurance company about what your policy covers.  

Helpful Tip!

You may need to buy additional insurance for property such as medical equipment.

Renter’s Insurance

Renter’s insurance is often overlooked, but for a small monthly expense (usually between $20 and $30), you can save a lot of money if something happens to your belongings. Renter’s insurance is meant for individuals who are renting a home, and it protects you and your property from damages, theft, and liability, based on the type of policy you have. If your apartment is broken into and your belongings are stolen, renters’ insurance can help you replace them. If you include liability insurance, it can also protect you from a lawsuit if someone is injured or suffers property damage while in your rental unit. Renters’ insurance often protects your belongings when you aren’t at home as well. If you lose your luggage while traveling, have your laptop stolen at a coffee shop, or have items stolen out of your car, you may be able to file a claim on your policy. 

Helpful Tip!

If your name isn’t on the policy, you aren’t covered, no matter if it’s your landlord’s homeowner’s insurance or your roommate’s renter’s insurance. You can begin a policy at any time, regardless of how long ago you signed your lease.

Auto Insurance

Public transportation can be a convenient and affordable way to get around, but depending on where you live and what your circumstances are, sometimes having your own vehicle is a necessity. If you own a vehicle, it’s important to be insured—in fact, it’s the law! As with any other financial decision, always shop around and compare options and prices.

You’ve Just Been in a Car Crash—Now What?

Being in a vehicle crash is scary, confusing, and frustrating. But there are a few things you should
make sure to do right away following a crash:

  • Contact the police by calling 911, especially if there’s an injury!
  • Get each driver’s name, insurance company name, and phone number;
  • If you can’t get this information, then get each car’s license plate number;
  • Each car’s year, make and model;
  • Names and contact information for any witnesses;
  • The names, badge numbers, and contact information of any police officers who come to the scene, as well as the police report number.

When you can, after the crash, write down the date, time, location, and what happened. If possible, take pictures. This will help when reporting the claim to your insurance company.

Some people might also find it helpful to get the app WreckCheck to remind you what to do in the case of an accident. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) developed this free mobile app that outlines what to do immediately after a crash and walks you through a step-by-step process to create your own accident report.

For more information about homeowner’s, renter’s, and auto insurance, or to file a complaint, visit Pennsylvania Insurance Department’s website or call 877-881-6388.