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Reviewed by May 19, 2023| Updated on
A home is a physical dwelling or structure a person lives in. A home is, in a legal sense, the place of permanent residence where a person lives, or wants to return to live.
Although it is full of emotional connotations, a home has clear legal connotations, as it is used to assess many things from tax responsibility to the status of a individual in the country in which they live. It may also be used to determine which states are compliant with probate rules, the rights of a state when it comes to collecting taxes, and to determine citizenship when a person lives in a country other than where he or she was born.
For example , if a person owns more than one house, such as a vacation home or an investment property, their primary residence is the place which would be considered their legal home. That legal status would affect how their taxes on that property are charged, as opposed to their responsibility for taxes on their other properties. There are other write-offs and deductions which can only be used at the primary residence of a person.
The type of homeowner insurance or hazard insurance that a person carries on his or her home will also vary depending on the occupancy type. Since a home is a property occupied by the owner, certain additional coverages apply — as opposed to a property occupied by the non-owner, which can only carry a policy covering the building and not the contents. The latter would be the case with a property, like a rental property, which is occupied by someone other than the owner.
A renter can opt to carry their own renter's insurance inside the rental unit to protect their property, but it is the landlord of the building that may carry homeowner's insurance (or a commercial version thereof)—which will usually cover only the building and its infrastructure.