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Noyes, Hall & Allen Blog

What is “Dwelling Fire” Insurance?

September 20th, 2011     Noyes Hall & Allen

Most Maine home insurance is written on a homeowners policy. But certain types of property do not qualify for homeowners policies, either because of the characteristics of the property or its occupancy. Properties that do not qualify for Maine homeowners insurance are often insured on a Dwelling Fire policy.

Does a Dwelling Fire Policy Only Cover Fire?

The name is misleading. All Dwelling Fire policies cover more than just fire. How much more depends on which policy form you have.

Dwelling Fire policies offer 3 common flavors: DP-1, DP-2 and DP-3. Homeowners policies also have 3 options, HO-1 through 3. The vast majority of Maine homeowners policies are HO-3; likewise, DP-3 is the most common coverage level found on Maine Dwelling Fire policies.

DP-3 Dwelling Fire policies and an HO-3 Homeowners policies have very similar coverage for buildings. Building coverage is considered “open perils”: unless a cause of loss is excluded, it is covered. The lower-numbered policies provide more restrictive “named perils” building coverage; only specifically listed causes of loss are covered. The DP-2/HO-2 building section covers 12 named perils. The DP-1/HO-1 only covers 4: Fire & lightning; windstorm; explosion; and vandalism.

The Difference Between a Dwelling Fire Policy and a Homeowners Policy

There are several key differences between the two policies.

  • Dwelling Fire policies do not automatically include Liability or Medical Payments coverage.
  • Theft of contents is not covered by Dwelling Fire policies (you can sometimes purchase a small amount for an additional premium).
  • Dwelling Fire policies typically don’t permit optional coverage extensions that are common to homeowners policies (e.g. water backup; identity theft; fallen tree removal; food spoilage).

Why do I need to Buy a Dwelling Fire policy?

A Dwelling Fire policy may be required for:

  • Property rented to others.
  • Seasonal property.
  • Other properties as determined by an insurer’s Underwriting Department.

A Dwelling Fire policy covers your property for more than fire. Coverage is generally not as broad as a homeowners policy, but it’s not as limited as the name implies. For advice about your particular situation contact your Maine insurance agency or Noyes Hall & Allen at 207-799-5541.

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