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Types of Homeowners Insurance Policies

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UPDATED: Aug 20, 2013

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homeowners insuranceHomeowner’s insurance
is well-regulated by the Insurance Services Office, ensuring that all policies conform to the same basic standards and requirements. One benefit of this standardization is that all insurance companies are required to offer the same basic types of policies, and these policies are always referred to by the same names. This makes it very simple to switch from one insurer to another while maintaining the same level of coverage.

Standardized home insurance policies come in eight varieties, with each one being named by an HO+number designation:

HO0 – Dwelling and Fire

The most basic type of homeowner’s insurance, this limited policy provides coverage to your home against the specific perils of fire, explosions, smoke, hail, lighting, windstorm, vehicles, and civil unrest. There is no coverage for personal property, and personal liability and medical expenses are not covered.

HO1 – Basic Form

The HO1 policy form protects the dwelling against each of 11 named perils: fire, lightning, hail, windstorm, theft, vandalism, damage from vehicles and aircraft, riots and civil commotion, volcanic eruption and glass breakage. In addition to the structure of the house, the home’s contents can also be included in the policy if they are enumerated at the time the policy is written. The policy does not, however, cover floods and earthquakes, although separate flood and earthquake policies can be purchased in some areas. This policy form is not available in every state.

HO2 – Broad Form

This is a more common type of homeowner’s insurance, and it’s one of the more likely options to be offered by all insurers. Broad form coverage is a “named perils” policy, which lists all of the specific perils that are covered by insurance. Any damage caused by a non-named peril is not covered under this type of policy. In all, there are 17 perils listed on a broad form policy: the 11 covered under HO1 plus protection against falling objects, the weight of ice or snow, and malfunctioning electrical and other household equipment. Notably, flood and earthquake insurance are still not covered by this policy.

HO3 – Special Form

For homeowners looking for more comprehensive coverage, the HO3 policy is usually the right choice. This is the most comprehensive type of policy generally offered for single-family homes. Instead of it being a named-peril policy, HO3 offers “all risk” coverage that provides protection for all perils that are not explicitly excluded. Notably, flood and earthquake are still excluded perils under this policy.

HO4 – Tenant’s Form

Also called renter’s insurance, this provides protection to people who are renting homes. Rather than offering dwelling coverage, which would be handled by the landlord, this protection only covers the tenant’s personal property and personal liability. Rental insurance covers the same perils as the “contents” portion of an HO2 or HO3 policy.

HO5 – Premier

This policy is like an extended version of HO3. Unlike other homeowners policies, the HO5 policy covers both contents and dwelling on an open-peril basis; other policies require named perils for personal property. As long as the cause of damage is not excluded on the policy, any damage to the dwelling and its contents will be covered. This policy can be purchased as-is, or the same level of coverage can be achieved by adding an endorsement to an existing HO3 policy.

HO6 – Condo Insurance

Much like renter’s insurance, this is a policy primarily designed to cover personal property and personal liability. However, the coverage also extends to the walls, floors and ceiling of a condominium. All perils covered in Broad Form (HO2) homeowner’s insurance are similarly covered through condo insurance.

HO7 – Mobile Home Insurance

This policy is essentially the same as an HO3 policy, but it provides protection for mobile and manufactured homes.

HO8 – Older Houses

This is an insurance policy written for an older home that would cost more to repair than its market value. The details of the policy are similar to those of an HO3 policy, simply modified to meet the needs of the older home.

About Eric Stauffer

Author: Eric StaufferI am a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. My priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

12 Comments

  1. Does H03 exclude “wind driven rain”?
    We have a beach property and after hurricane many residents were dismayed to learn their policies excluded “wind-driven rain.” Prompts me to wonder if my H03 on my primary residence excludes “wind driven rain.”

    Reply
  2. I live in an older home located in a historic district..looking for H08 cov(?)
    Can you recommend a provider maybe?

    Reply
  3. Hi Eric,
    I want to obtain fire and dwelling insurance for my home, i.e., a HO-0 but cannot find a provider.
    My home is not mortgaged and I do not want any liability perils. Can you offer any info? I live in
    Virginia and I am a retired senior citizen.

    Reply
    • Hi David,

      Have you spoken with a broker that represents many different insurance companies? If I was in your position, that is where I would start. They usually have agreements with many companies and are more suited to get hard-to-find products like what you are looking for.

      Do not speak with a captive agent (an agent that sells products for one firm).

      Best,
      Eric Stauffer

      Reply
  4. My policy says HO-9 on it, why am I not able to find out what his covers? Or what an HO-9 policy is for specifically??

    Reply
    • Hi Brandi,

      Honestly, I have no idea. If I were to guess, I would say it may be a company-specific policy that has additional features on top of a standard coverage policy. As far as I know, there isn’t any standard HO9 policy.

      I would ask my agent if I was in your position.

      Best,
      Eric Stauffer

      Reply
  5. This post has such great information, thanks!

    Reply
  6. I have a fixer up house and my insurance carrier of 17 years has cancelled me. Who can I contact to get a homeowner insurance policy for a fixer up home. ( am doing the work myself, will take 2-3 years).

    Reply
    • Hi Kim,

      Find a local broker that contracts with many different insurance companies. They can quote multiple companies, and will be the best source for your local market. Don’t go with a company-specific agent, as they usually have to stick to one or two companies.

      Best,
      Eric Stauffer

      Reply
  7. Hello,
    Yes, I was wanting to talk with someone regarding HO-8 coverage. I have a older home and it is currently rented. I had regular homeowner coverage for many years up until June of 2014 we lost the coverage due to non-payment. I am just wanting basic coverage for the value listed on the county tax assessment’s estimate of the home’s value. Can you help?

    Reply
    • Hi Alice,

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.

      At ExpertInsuranceReviews.com, we do not actually sell insurance or act as a broker. We do, however, recommend certain insurance companies for specific insurance types. You can check out our recommendations here:

      https://expertinsurancereviews.com/best-insurance-companies/

      Our recommended home insurance company on that page would be glad to help you.

      Best,
      Eric Stauffer

      Reply

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