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Insurance-Corner-What-does-my-policy-cover

“I feel like every time I make a claim, I get unexpectedly denied for something I thought was covered. What is covered by homeowner’s insurance?” – Sam K.

Thank you for your question! That is very frustrating. Most insurance companies have a list of problems or perils that they will not cover. It is important to know what is or isn’t covered by your insurance. You might need to purchase additional coverage based on your circumstances.

There are 8 plans that are pretty standard in the home insurance world. The differences may be small but they can mean a lot when you experience a loss.
Things covered by home insurance policies

HO-1 Policy – Basic Form

This policy is the most basic. It typically covers around 10 main named perils. These tend to be

  • Fire or smoke
  • Explosions
  • Lightning
  • Hail and windstorms
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Damage from vehicles
  • Damage from aircraft
  • Riots and civil commotion
  • Volcanic eruption

These plans are so basic that they aren’t offered much anymore because other plans with more coverage aren’t much more expensive. They also aren’t always considered as enough coverage for some mortgage companies.

HO-2 Policy- Broad Form

The HO-2 generally called the “broad form.” It tends to cover 16 perils. This is the HO-1 perils plus these six:

  • Falling objects
  • Weight of ice, snow, or sleet which causes damage to a building
  • Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam from within a plumbing, heating, air conditioning or automatic fire-protective sprinkler system or from a household appliance.
  • Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning or bulging of a steam or hot water heating system or an air conditioning or automatic fire-protective system.
  • Freezing of a plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or automatic, fire-protective sprinkler system or of a household appliance.
  • Sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current

Not only does this plan typically cover your home’s structure, but it tends to cover your belongings. It can also cover your personal liability. Remember, if any other peril damages your home that is not on the list, it is not covered.

HO-3 Policy- Special Form

This is the most common type of homeowners’ insurance because it covers a lot of things and is pretty affordable. It covers everything in Ho-2 and more.
The HO-3 does not limit the coverage to only named perils. This means that things are covered unless they are listed as an exclusion. This policy may insure your home and attached structures like a garage or deck.

HO-4 Policy- Tenant’s Form (Renter’s Insurance)

This is a policy specifically for renters. It only covers belongings and personal liability – not the structure. The structure is covered by the insurance that the landlord has. The belongings are typically covered for the same perils as the HO-2. It can also cover living expenses if you need to stay somewhere else temporarily while the damage is being repaired.

HO-5 Policy- Comprehensive Form

This policy is similar to the HO-3 in the fact that it covers most things unless listed as an exclusion. HO-5 policies tend to cover more than the HO-3. It is the broadest coverage you can get. Some of the typical exclusions are:

  • Earth movement (like an earthquake, landslide, or mudslide)
  • Floods
  • Water damage
  • Damage from or an infestation of birds, vermin, rodents, and insects
  • Neglect, deterioration, and general wear-and-tear
  • Settling, shrinking, bulging, or expanding of your home’s foundation
  • Your pets and other animals
  • Mold, fungus, and rot
  • Intentional loss
  • War, government action, and nuclear hazard
  • Ordinance or law
  • Smog, rust, and corrosion

HO-6 Policy- Condo Form

This policy is designed for condo owners. It protects belongings and personal liability. It can also apply to walls, floors, and ceilings of the unit.

HO-7 Policy- Mobile Home Form

The mobile home form is very similar to an HO-3, but it is specifically for mobile or manufactured homes. They do not fall under regular homeowner’s insurance coverage.

HO-8 Policy- Older Home Form

This policy is designed to cover certain issues for older homes. The coverage of an HO-8 is very similar to an HO-3, but with adaptations to suit older homes. They may have different coverage needs than newer houses. Historic homes and registered landmarks usually carry this type of policy.

While it seems like most insurance companies and states have similar policies, it is important to know what your policy includes or excludes. We recommend having a conversation with your home insurance agent to ensure you understand your coverage.

Insurance is complicated and confusing. In order to serve you better, we started our Insurance Corner. This bi-monthly blog discusses the ins and outs of insurance. If you have any insurance-related questions like Sam K did this month, please comment them below.

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