Get to know your insurance policy

See this breakdown of a policy to help understand the protection your carrier provides.

Let’s face it, reading an insurance policy isn’t like curling up with a good novel. It’s a fairly complex document that specifies your coverages and everything that’s excluded when you have a loss.

Luckily, we have easy-to-read policies that make things clearer, but you still need to review your document carefully.

Important to do’s

  • Read your entire policy. What may be covered in one section may be excluded in another, depending on what happens.
  • Familiarize yourself with each policy section

Common parts of an insuring agreement

Your policy is a binding contract, also known as the insuring agreement. Under this agreement, your insurer has specific responsibilities, and as the customer, so do you.

Common parts of most policies

Policy declarations

Also known as the declarations or dec page, this is the first page of the policy. It states the primary information regarding the policy, such as:

  • The insured’s name and address
  • Description of what’s insured
  • Coverage selections
  • Coverage limits.


The definitions section defines words,  generally in quotes or boldface type,  found in your policy that may be unfamiliar or confusing. Definitions also include some familiar words and phrases, such as business property, to clarify exactly what is specifically covered in your policy.


Coverages includes a list of the specific items being covered, and for what perils.


Exclusions describes restrictions to coverage and/or how coverage may be eliminated, depending on how, where or when a loss occurs.


Limits provides an explanation of how much your insurance company pays for particular losses or types of property. While something may be covered, it may only apply to a specific dollar amount or for a limited percentage of the entire loss.


Known as the ground rules of your policy, the conditions section outlines the insurance company’s obligations and your responsibilities as the customer. This includes how to cancel your policy, your various payment plan options, your insurer’s subrogation rights and more.

Duties after a loss

Duties describes what steps you must take after a loss occurs, such as:

  • Promptly notifying your insurer
  • Notifying the police (in certain cases, such as theft)
  • Protecting your property from further damage


An endorsement adds or restricts certain coverage for additional premium to change your policy to custom fit it for your needs.

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