What Is a Dwelling?

Dwelling is another word for a place of residence, such as a home, condo, or apartment.

Under a homeowners insurance policy, dwelling coverage refers to the building itself and anything attached to it, such as a garage or deck.

Features of your house that are considered part of your dwelling may include:

  • The walls
  • The floors and carpets
  • The cabinets
  • Built-in appliances like the fridge, furnace, water, heater, ducts, and pipes
  • The roof
  • The foundation
  • The windows and doors
  • The deck and porch
  • The attached garage

In contrast, items like furniture, dishes, toaster oven, and clothing are personal property covered under a separate section of a homeowners insurance policy (Personal Property). Detached garages and sheds on your property also have their own section in the policy (Other Structures).

Does my policy cover my dwelling?

Depending on what kind of property insurance you have, you could have different levels of protection for your dwelling.

  • Homeowners Insurance (HO-3 or HO-5) – Provides dwelling coverage up to the policy limit or replacement cost if something destroys it.
  • Condo Insurance (HO-6) – Provides dwelling coverage at a lower limit, to protect the interior walls, floors, and built-in appliances that you (not the association) are responsible for.
  • Renters Insurance (HO-4) – Provides no dwelling coverage.
  • Dwelling Insurance (DP-3) – Provides dwelling coverage up to the cost to replace the dwelling if something destroys it. This type of policy does not include theft or liability coverages.

When does dwelling coverage apply?

Both the HO-3 (special form) and HO-5 (comprehensive form) homeowners insurance policies cover any damage to the dwelling, unless an exclusion applies.

Common exclusions include damage from:

  • Flood
  • Power Failure
  • Earth movement
  • Intentional loss
  • Neglect

Refer to your policy for a complete list.

The information and descriptions on this site are general in nature. The coverage afforded for a particular loss depends on the specific facts and the terms, exclusions, and limits of the actual policy. Nothing on this site alters the terms or conditions of any policy, as the policy controls coverage. Coverage options, limits, discounts, deductibles, and other features are subject to underwriting criteria, state availability, and effective dates. Coverage provided and underwritten by NJM Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, 301 Sullivan Way, W. Trenton, NJ 08628.