Purchasing a home is fraught with risks and costs, many of which people don’t consider when they decide to buy. Given the current social climate, many people might feel that paying into an insurance policy you may never benefit from is a waste of money; we’re here to explain why it’s actually one of the smartest investments you can make.

Homeowners insurance covers three main categories: repairs related to your home and yard, repairs or replacements of your personal items, and personal liability protection. Unsurprisingly, there are exceptionally long lists and limitations involved in each one — there’s a reason so many homeowners insurance companies exist. Finding the best homeowner insurance quotes depends on your personal needs.

For example, there are three types of policies homeowners may select. The HO-2 policy covers 16 “named-perils”, which include fire or lightning, smoke, theft, windstorms and hail, and a number (re: 12 more) of other problems. An HO-3 policy offers “open-peril” protection, which essentially means they cover all risks except those your insurer excludes (although it should be noted that your personal property is still covered under a named-peril basis). The HO-5 policy is the broadest, and covers both your dwelling and personal property unless specifically excluded. Unfortunately, most homeowner insurance quotes don’t include coverage from natural disasters: you need to purchase earthquake or flood insurance separately.

You decide what you can afford to pay based on what you want covered. However, there are certain bases you should be covering regardless. Your dwelling coverage limit should cover the rebuilding cost of your home — this is not the same as its purchase price or real estate market value. (Note: your home insurance agent should be able to help you calculate this). When protecting your personal items, the general rule is to make the coverage limit at least 50% of your dwelling coverage amount; it helps to take a thorough home inventory to determine the value of your personal property, and then go from there.

The 64.2% of Americans that own homes know how complicated dealing with its insurance can be. However, they didn’t have to go it alone, and neither do you: with the help of an experienced insurance company and dedicated agent, you’ll be able to handle its complexities — and find a quote that works best for your needs — with ease.