One of the major responsibilities of owning a home is to insure it. If you have a mortgage on your home, your lender will require you to have insurance. But even if you owe nothing on your home, it makes sense to have insurance for it to protect your very large investment.
Homeowners insurance works like other types of property and casualty insurance. If your home is damaged by a covered event, such as a storm or fire, you need to contact your insurance company to make a claim. Your insurer will then send out an adjuster to make sure the event is covered by the policy and determine the extent of its liability. Once that has been determined, your insurance will kick in and start paying for things that are covered, including repairing the damage to your home and paying for you to live elsewhere for a time if necessary.
Homeowners policies are relatively standard in what they cover and what they don't. Hail, wind and fire damage typically are covered while flooding and earthquake damage aren't. Most insurers offer endorsements and riders to add coverage.