My House Is Paid Off. Do I Need Home Insurance?

WRITTEN BY: Mark Romero


Homeowners insurance offers a variety of benefits, including protection against natural disasters and theft, as well as coverage for your possessions and liability if someone gets injured on your property. It’s a common misconception that you no longer need home insurance once your house is paid off. This is not true. Homebuyers still need to protect their investment and ensure they have the right coverage. Read on to learn why you should still get home insurance even if you’ve no longer got a monthly mortgage payment.

Different Types of Coverage You May Need

There are many different types of home insurance coverage you may need. Some of them are:

  • Dwelling Coverage
  • Personal Property Coverage
  • Additional Living Expense (ALE) Coverage
  • Flood Insurance
  • Liability Coverage

Dwelling Coverage

Dwelling coverage is the coverage that a homeowner has for the home itself.

A dwelling is any building or structure that contains living quarters, including a house, condominium, townhouse, apartment, mobile home, or any other type of residence.

Dwelling coverage is designed to protect against losses due to fire, lightning, windstorm, hail, or explosion (including earthquakes). It also protects against damages caused by smoke from one of these perils that enter and damage the insured building.

Personal Property Coverage

Personal property insurance covers various items, from jewelry to electronics and furniture. It protects your belongings in the event of theft, fire, or other damage.

Additional Living Expense (ALE) Coverage

ALE coverage can be purchased as an add-on to your homeowner or renter’s insurance. It covers the following expenses:

  • Loss of use of your home because it’s uninhabitable due to a covered loss.
  • Temporary living expenses if you have to live elsewhere while repairs are being done on your home.
  • Temporary living expenses if you don’t have access to your home because it has been condemned due to a covered loss.
  • Additional living expenses if you can’t live in your home because of a declared state of emergency, riot, or civil unrest.

This coverage can be used in addition to a standard homeowner or renter’s insurance policy.

Flood Insurance

Flood insurance is a type of insurance that protects property owners from the damage caused by flooding.

Floods are one of the most common natural disasters in the United States and can cause significant damage to homes and businesses. Flooding can occur when rainwater or melting snow flows over a property or water seeps through cracks in the property’s foundation.

Floods can be devastating for homeowners who don’t have flood insurance. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers flood insurance to homeowners in high-risk areas. Still, even those living outside these zones may qualify for coverage if they meet specific requirements.

What to Know About Liability Insurance

Personal liability coverage is a type of insurance that protects the insured from financial liability if they are found legally responsible for damages or injuries. This type of insurance typically covers lawsuits and judgments in which you’re liable for negligence or accidents on your property.

It will cover a person’s medical bills should you be liable for them.

How Much Homeowners Insurance Do I Need?

To answer this question, you need to consider a few things. First, what is the cost of living in your area? Second, what are the risks that are inherent in your area? Third, how much do you want to spend on homeowners insurance?

The amount of homeowners insurance you need depends on the value of your home and your financial situation.

If you have a mortgage, it’s essential to know that your lender will require you to purchase at least enough homeowners insurance to cover the total replacement cost of your home.

However, if you don’t have a mortgage, it’s up to you to decide how much coverage is enough for you.

In general, it’s recommended that homeowners carry at least $100,000 in coverage for their homes.

Dwelling Coverage

The type of coverage that you need will depend on where you live and what risks are present. For example, if you live in an area with a high crime rate or flood risk, you will want higher coverage than someone who lives in a low-risk area.

Personal Belongings Coverage

Create a home inventory to determine how much personal property coverage you need.

  • Go from room to room in your home and inventory all the furniture, including beds, couches, dining room sets, side tables, lamps, area rugs, and so on.
  • Write down a ballpark figure of how much it would cost to replace those items.
  • Next, do the same with clothes, shoes, coats, and accessories.
  • Write out how much it would cost to replace your home’s major appliances, such as the dishwasher, refrigerator, oven, furnace, water heater, and air conditioner.
  • Finally, list all your remaining personal items, including televisions, computers, linens, artwork, and collectibles. Be sure to include small kitchen appliances, such as your coffeemaker, microwave, and blender.

Replacing your property would soon add up if you destroy a single room in your home. If you can comfortably afford to replace everything using savings, you may feel like you don’t need insurance, but consider if the small monthly cost of an insurance premium is worth having peace of mind.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is homeowners insurance cheaper when a mortgage is paid off?

No, paying off your mortgage will not affect the price of your home insurance policy. Mortgage lenders often require that you take out a home insurance policy as part of your mortgage agreement. You should continue with your home insurance policy even after your mortgage is paid.

Do I need insurance for my house?

A home insurance policy is critical to protect yourself and your assets financially. Although home insurance can’t prevent bad things from happening, it can give you the peace of mind that you’ll be able to resolve any issues that arise.

What happens if I don’t have house insurance?

You’re responsible for paying the total cost to repair or replace the items out of pocket if you don’t have a home insurance policy and your home or personal property is damaged or lost. You may have to pay damages if someone injures themselves on your property. An insurance policy could help to cover these costs if the worst should happen.

Do some people not have homeowners insurance?

Some people choose not to have home insurance, but it’s not recommended, and home insurance isn’t a legal requirement. The mortgage lender will request that anyone with a mortgage get home insurance.

What if I live in a flood zone?

For homeowners that live in a flood zone, a standard homeowners insurance policy is unlikely to cover damage caused by a flood. However, purchasing separate flood insurance through a provider such as the National Flood Insurance Program is possible. The NFIP offers buildings and personal property coverage, each with a separate deductible.

Why do I need homeowners insurance?

Homeowners insurance is a type of insurance that protects you from financial loss if there is a fire, theft, vandalism, or natural disaster. Home insurance provides peace of mind about a natural disaster’s financial and legal consequences natural disaster or even the cost of repairing damages caused by fire or theft.

What is the difference between homeowners insurance and renters insurance?

Homeowners insurance covers the structure of your home. You can get more comprehensive policies that cover personal property, liability, and additional living expenses, but even fundamental policies will cover the home structure.

When a tenant rents a property, the landlord must have insurance to cover the home’s structure. Then the tenant will have coverage for their personal property through their renter’s insurance.

What are the benefits of homeowners insurance?

Having home insurance means you can get help paying to repair or replace your home and personal property if damaged by any of the named perils in your policy. This means that instead of paying for the total cost out of pocket, you would only need to pay the insurance deductible and claim the rest of the expenses.

How much does insurance cost?

The United States based a policy of $250,000 dwelling coverage on the average cost of homeowners insurance of $1,383. Home insurance costs can vary depending on various factors, such as condition, location, and value.

Will my bank still offer a mortgage if I don’t have insurance?

All mortgage lenders require you to take out a home insurance policy to protect the value of their investment. It’s also essential to stay up to date with your insurance policy payments, as if your insurance lapses due to missed payments, your mortgage company could set up a force-placed insurance policy. Force-placed policies are typically more expensive and provide less coverage.

What happens if I have house insurance and something happens to my house?

If something happens to your home and you’re going to need to claim your insurance, the first thing you should do is contact your homeowners insurance company. Try to give the insurance company as much detail as possible; if it’s safe, you can take photos or videos of the damage. Following your claim, the insurance company will send an insurance adjuster to assess the damage and process your claim.

What is the purpose of home insurance?

One of the essential insurance options is homeowners insurance, which is purchased to be protected in case something happens, like a fire or burglary. Homeowners insurance coverage is also required if you have a mortgage on your property, as it protects the lender’s investment in your home.

How to Get Home Insurance Without a Mortgage

While homeowners insurance is not legally required, and without a mortgage to pay, you won’t have your lender insisting you get insurance, it’s still a pretty good idea to protect yourself. Your needs may differ if you’ve paid off your mortgage or bought a house outright, but that doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from home insurance’s financial protection.

It may be a good time to switch providers if your needs have changed, so you should compare different insurance policies and get insurance quotes from various insurance agents to get the best value product.