An expert guide to your homeowners policy

+ smart household tips and know-hows

5 main

insurance coverages

Dwelling Coverage Image | GEICO Homeowner's Handbook


Dwelling Coverage

Pays for repairing or rebuilding your home if damaged by a loss covered by your policy—this includes materials and labor charges. When you bought your policy, we reviewed your coverage with you, but if you ever need to make any updates to your policy, contact the GEICO Insurance Agency.

Other Structures Coverage Image | GEICO Homeowner's Handbook


Other Structures Coverage

Pays for covered damages to detached structures, such as garages and sheds on your property.

Personal Property Coverage Image | GEICO Homeowner's Handbook


Personal Property Coverage

Pays for the personal items that may be damaged or destroyed by a covered loss—from furniture, to clothes, to televisions. Lower limits apply for some valuables, such as the theft of jewelry and watches. If you’re worried about protecting your valuables, go online for a free jewelry quote today!

Loss of Use Coverage Image | GEICO Homeowner's Handbook


Loss of Use Coverage

Helps pay for additional living expenses if you are displaced due to your home being uninhabitable due to a covered claim. This includes lodging, food, clothing and other necessities in the event of your loss. Keep your receipts to assist in getting reimbursed.

Personal Liability Coverage Image | GEICO Homeowner's Handbook


Personal Liability Coverage

Helps protect you—such as by paying for a legal defense—if in the event of a covered loss you are responsible for causing bodily injury or property damage to others. Depending on your assets and insurance needs, you may want to consider purchasing an umbrella insurance policy.

Homeowners Terms to Know


This is the portion of the payment that you are responsible for in the event of damages or a loss before your insurance company will pay for a claim. The amount of the deductible is subtracted, or “deducted,” from your claim payment. The larger the deductible, the less you pay in premiums. That being said, it’s important to choose a deductible that fits your budget.

Proof of Insurance

Also known as the Declarations Page, this includes the coverage limits, effective dates of the policy and policy endorsements. Mortgage companies and other involved parties will want a copy of the Declarations Page.

Additional Coverage

Depending on where you live, you may want to look into extra coverage for natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes.


This is a contractual agreement in which a neutral third party receives and disburses money and documents for the transacting parties. Escrow begins when the buyer and the seller have agreed on an offer. The buyer places “earnest money” into an account that is held by a third party, so the buyer can’t touch it and the seller can’t touch it. Once all conditions are met and the deal is finalized, the money due to the seller is transferred and the buyer officially owns the home.


Maybe a move isn’t currently in the mix, but this checklist is a great go-to when or if the time does come for a new home.

Before the move

Checkmark Icon | GEICO Homeowner's handbook

Inventory the stuff you’re taking.
Create a short, accurate list for yourself or a moving company. Avoid overestimating and overpaying for too many boxes or too large a truck. Ask friends for referrals! Extra tip: don't pay for boxes. There are free cardboard boxes just about everywhere; all you have to do is ask!

Checkmark Icon | GEICO Homeowner's handbook

Book your move.
Nail down your move-out date. If you are using a moving company or renting a truck, sign your estimate and confirm your plan. Lock in a rental truck early to avoid heavy last-minute rates or truck unavailability.

Whether you’re relocating across town or across the country, if you do hire a moving company, we suggest purchasing insurance through that company to help protect you and your stuff during the big move.

Checkmark Icon | GEICO Homeowner's handbook

Purge your junk.
Donate, sell, toss and recycle things you don’t want or need. Purge expired medicines and makeup. Keep a give-away box or bags handy. This will make it easier to get rid of items while you purge.

Checkmark Icon | GEICO Homeowner's handbook

Start packing.
Make a packing kit. Include permanent markers, scissors, different-colored rolls of duct tape and pens. A notebook, bottle of water and snacks, too!

As you pack, set aside items that you’ll need for your trip and the first few days in your new home. Put them in a box labeled “first day,” so you know when to open it once you arrive. Extra tip: color-code your stuff. Pick one color of duct tape for each room in your house and slap a square of it on each side of your box.

Checkmark Icon | GEICO Homeowner's handbook

Quit stocking the cabinet.
Eat as many perishables as possible and stop grocery shopping. Reducing food=reducing boxes.

Checkmark Icon | GEICO Homeowner's handbook

Change your address.
Fill out a change of address form with the post office or online at Be sure to update your address with your bank, insurance providers, credit card issuers, mailed subscriptions and other important contacts.

Checkmark Icon | GEICO Homeowner's handbook

Think outside the box.
Garbage bags are your friends! Think pillows, blankets, socks, undergarments, bathing suits and pajamas. Get creative in combining items. Include socks, shirts, pillows, blankets, and other soft items with your fragile items.

Checkmark Icon | GEICO Homeowner's handbook

Keep an inventory.
Use the notebook to create a checklist of your boxes. Write numbers on your boxes, and include what each number represents in your notebook.

Moving Day

Checkmark Icon | GEICO Homeowner's handbook

Visually check whether everything is loaded onto the truck and all applicable paperwork is complete.

Checkmark Icon | GEICO Homeowner's handbook

Take a final tour of your home to make sure the water and light switches are turned off, windows are locked and closed and nothing is left behind.

Checkmark Icon | GEICO Homeowner's handbook

Check your belongings as they’re unloaded. Keep a map handy to direct movers where to place the furniture.

Checkmark Icon | GEICO Homeowner's handbook

Store all of your moving paperwork—you’ll need it for your federal income tax returns.

After the Move

Checkmark Icon | GEICO Homeowner's handbook

Start settling in.
Visit your new post office to pick up any mail being held and ask for delivery to begin.

Checkmark Icon | GEICO Homeowner's handbook

Contact your car insurance company.
Depending on where you’ve moved, you may have new coverage options, prices and savings available to you. Take a look at the coverage requirements for your state to ensure you have the right protection. If you insure your car with GEICO, we’re always a click, tap or phone call away! If not, consider getting a quote with GEICO today.

Checkmark Icon | GEICO Homeowner's handbook

Register your vehicle.
Check the state requirements for vehicle registration and driver’s license, and make a trip to the DMV. Every state has a different window for when you need to make these transfers, so put this high up on your list. Also be sure to check the DMV website to see what steps can be completed online.

Checkmark Icon | GEICO Homeowner's handbook

Search for new healthcare providers.
One of the top priorities when moving to a new place is finding a new doctor, dentist, vet and other important specialists for you and your family.

Checkmark Icon | GEICO Homeowner's handbook

Register to vote.
Conveniently register online, or fill out and mail a Voter Registration Form. This form can be found at post offices and the DMV. We suggest checking the DMV website to see what can be completed online.

Checkmark Icon | GEICO Homeowner's handbook

Explore your new city and neighborhood.
Enjoy discovering your new favorite hair salon, parks, running and bike paths as well as other hangouts. Figure out which restaurant will be your regular pizza delivery place.

Checkmark Icon | GEICO Homeowner's handbook

Find a trustworthy local contractor.
Save money by relying on one person instead of many to service your home improvement projects. Asking your neighbors for referrals is a smart way to break the ice and build relationships.

Be sure to keep in contact with your insurance company about updates and improvements to your home—from renovations to better materials—to ensure you’re getting the best rate.

Ways to
protect your home

House Icon | GEICO Homeowner's Handbook

When on vacation

ClickTap on a circle!

Make sure it looks like someone is home.

Set timers on lights. Make sure your lawn is maintained. Be sure blinds and curtains aren't exposing expensive belongings. Ask a neighbor to collect your mail for you or have your local post office hold your mail, depending on the length of your vacation.

Don't forget to lock up.

Beyond the obvious, this also goes for pet doors or mail slots. If you have an automatic garage door, consider disconnecting the electronic opener and placing a padlock on the garage door track instead.

Watch what you share on social media.

Refrain from publicly sharing any details of your trip until you return.

Enlist your neighbors.

Tell a trusted neighbor that you’ll be gone for a while, and ask them to keep an eye on your house. Consider providing them with your vacation contact information and a spare key.

Set your alarm.

Don’t have an alarm system? If you do get an alarm system installed, you could save even more on your homeowner’s policy with a special discount!

Unplug all appliances.

To avoid electrical fires or power surges, make sure to unplug all unnecessary appliances. Also, make sure your smoke alarms are in working order, and have a fire extinguisher on hand.

When you are home

Keep your front entrance clear.

The FBI reports that more than a third of burglars enter through the front door. Keep your entrance free of shrubbery or furnishings and make sure the entrance is brightly lit at night.

Secure your windows.

Make sure your windows are double-pane glass, which is not only harder to break into but can also make your home’s heating and cooling more efficient. Discourage intruders from entering through a window by placing a large plant or piece of furniture underneath it. No burglar wants to climb onto a cactus.

Smart ways
you could save big

The non-affiliated companies we work with have discounts available; you may be able to save even more on your homeowners insurance policy.

If you’ve taken steps to protect your home, you might qualify for a discount. Give us a call today and let us know if you have these safety features in your home:
Fire Sprinklers Icon | GEICO Homeowner's Handbook

Fire Sprinklers

Security System Icon | GEICO Homeowner's Handbook

Security System

Deadbolt Locks Icon | GEICO Homeowner's Handbook

Deadbolt Locks

Security System Icon | GEICO Homeowner's Handbook

Smoke Detectors

TIP: Where they are placed matters. Since smoke rises, they must be close to the ceiling, but need space between the ceiling and wall. They also don’t last forever. Be sure to replace them at least every 10 years.

Fire Extinguisher Icon | GEICO Homeowner's Handbook

Fire Extinguishers

TIP: In a back-and-forth sweeping motion, aim at the base of the fire—not toward the flame. They empty fast, so make sure you aim correctly. Make sure to check the pressure gauge (needs to be “full”) and expiration date.

homeowner tips

Special advice from editors of The Family Handyman

Hover overTap on a circle!

Homeowner's Tip 1 | GEICO Homeowner's Handbook

Don’t have a tape measure handy?
Use a dollar bill.

A dollar is roughly 6 inches long.

Homeowner's Tip 2 | GEICO Homeowner's Handbook

Don’t underestimate the lemon.

The citrus fruit can help clean a smelly garbage disposal, cutting boards, white laundry and more.

Homeowner's Tip 3 | GEICO Homeowner's Handbook

Mouse problem?
Cheese isn’t the strongest bait.

A combination of bacon and peanut butter is actually the most successful!

Homeowner's Tip 4 | GEICO Homeowner's Handbook

Old gasoline: the number 1 lawnmower killer.

Buy gas in smaller quantities, consider adding stabilizer and of course—make sure it’s the right kind of gas.

Pro secrets for
DIY House painting

A change of paint can completely transform your space. And you can add significant value to your home and improve its energy efficiency by doing it yourself! Feel confident to DIY with these tips:

Hue Icon | GEICO Homeowner's Handbook

Pick the perfect hue.

For interiors, neutral hues are the way to go with their light and airy feel. For the exterior, be wary of dark colors that soak up heat to save on the AC. Keep colors consistent with the architecture and building materials used on the house.

Sunrise Icon | GEICO Homeowner's Handbook

Shine on.

Not only does it give an aesthetic appeal, but sheen provides additional coverage and protection when it comes to wear and tear. This applies to both the interior and exterior of your home.

Prep Icon | GEICO Homeowner's Handbook

Prep properly.

Never paint a dirty or fractured surface. Remove dust, dirt, soap or grease, and be sure to patch and smooth walls. Place cloths on floors and use painter’s tape on baseboards, trim and moldings.

Tools Icon | GEICO Homeowner's Handbook

Use the right tools.

Your must-haves are a brush, extension pole, roller and liner for the rolling pan. You’ll likely need a ladder, as well.

Safety Icon | GEICO Homeowner's Handbook

Safety first.

Make sure someone can hold your ladder sturdy while you’re on it. Wear protective clothing and gear—including gloves and a mask. Open the windows and keep the area ventilated as much as possible.

Techniques Icon | GEICO Homeowner's Handbook

Master proper painting techniques.

Working from the top down, paint along the edge of the ceiling in a line from side to side with a brush, as well as the windows, doors and molding. Then get rolling. Keep a “wet edge,” which means rolling on top of wet paint to keep color consistent.
For exteriors, begin with the body and siding, then finish with the trim. Let the pros handle painting anything over one story, since it tends to be labor-intensive and will require the use of tall ladders.

9 Icon | GEICO Homeowner's Handbook
9 Helpful Things to Have in Your Home | GEICO Homeowner's Handbook

1. Fire Extinguisher

2. First Aid Kit

3. Flashlight

4. Tool Kit

5. Duct Tape

6. Trash Bags

7. Lightbulbs

8. Batteries

9. Non-Perishable Food

 Another thing to consider 

Cat Icon | GEICO Homeowner's Handbook

Kitty Litter

It’s not just for your kitty! Because of its deodorizing and absorbent qualities, it can assist in cleaning and crafting! Keep areas fresh and get rid of unwanted smells. Sprinkle on yucky spills, like oil and paint. Dry and preserve flowers or place litter in specialty soil for gardening!

We see
more savingsin your future

Crystal Ball | GEICO Homeowner's Handbook
Whether you're getting married, buying a home or adopting a pet, GEICO's here to grow with you.

The above is meant as general information and as general policy descriptions to help you understand the different types of coverages. These descriptions do not refer to any specific contract of insurance and they do not modify any definitions, exclusions or any other provision expressly stated in any contracts of insurance. We encourage you to speak to your insurance representative and to read your policy contract to fully understand your coverages. Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states, in all GEICO companies, or in all situations. Homeowners, Renters, Condo, Pet, Travel, Flood, Term Life, Jewelry, and business operations and property coverages are written through non-affiliated insurance companies and are secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc. Boat and PWC coverages are underwritten by GEICO Marine Insurance Company. GEICO Auto policyholders could be eligible for a premium discount on their GEICO Marine Insurance policy. Motorcycle and ATV coverages are underwritten by GEICO Indemnity Company. GEICO Portfolio Identity Theft Protection is provided by Iris Powered by Generali and is secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc. Identity Theft Insurance is underwritten by Generali U.S. Branch. The GEICO Personal Umbrella Policy is provided by Government Employees Insurance Company and is available to qualified Government Employees Insurance Company and GEICO General Insurance Company policyholders and other eligible persons, except in Mass. Commercial auto coverage is underwritten by Government Employees Insurance Company. In some cases commercial auto coverage is provided through GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc., either under an arrangement with National Indemnity Company (NICO), a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, or with non-affiliated insurers. Business operations and property coverages are written through non-affiliated insurers and are secured through GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc. The GEICO App and site received #1 rankings according to Forrester's 2017 US Mobile Auto Insurance Functionality Benchmark. If you do not wish to receive future marketing mailings from GEICO, please complete the form available at, or send your full name and mailing address, including ZIP code, to Mail Preference, GEICO Marketing, One GEICO Plaza, Floor 4T, Washington, D.C. 20076. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. © 2018 GEICO