What is a Homeowner’s Insurance Policy Form?
Insurance companies can use seven different homeowner’s policy types or “forms.” Each one is designed to protect against various exposures, depending on the property structure and the level of coverage needed.
Let’s take a closer look at each form below.
Homeowner’s Policy Form HO1
Also known as a “basic form,” an HO1 typically provides bare-bones home protection against 10 perils:
- Fire or smoke
- Hail and windstorms
- Theft/malicious mischief
- Damage from vehicles
- Damage from aircraft
- Riots and civil commotion
- Volcanic eruption
Some HO1 policies also provide coverage for glass (e.g., your child accidentally breaks a window with a baseball), although this isn’t the case across the board.
Furthermore, an HO1 doesn’t cover liability losses or medical payments (e.g., a guest slips, falls, and injures themselves at your home) or personal property like clothes, furniture, and appliances.
Homeowner’s Policy Form HO2
Like an HO1, an HO2 “broad form” policy provides coverage on a named perils basis. However, it also expands upon this coverage by adding six more perils to the complete list:
- Fire or lightning
- Falling objects
- Volcanic eruption
- Windstorm or hail
- Riot or civil commotion
- Damage caused by aircraft
- Vandalism or malicious mischief
- Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
- Cracking, bulging (must be sudden and accidental)
- Artificially generated electric current
- Water or steam
The damage must occur suddenly and accidentally for cracking/bulging, electric current, and water or steam (i.e., there’s no coverage in these instances for long-term damage).
Homeowner’s Policy Form HO3
An HO3 form is written on an open perils basis (i.e., a loss is covered unless its cause is specifically excluded) for dwelling and other structures. However, coverage for personal property is on a named perils basis.
With these details in mind, standard exclusions found on an HO-3 form include:
- Enforcement of building codes and similar laws
- Power failures
- Neglect (meaning your failure to take reasonable steps to protect your property)
- Nuclear hazard
- Intentional acts
- Freezing pipes and systems in vacant dwellings
- Damage to foundations or pavements from ice and water weight
- Theft from a dwelling under construction
- Vandalism to vacant dwellings
- Latent defects, corrosion, industrial smoke, pollution
- Settling, wear, and tear
- Pets, other animals, and pests
- Weather conditions that aggravate other excluded causes of loss
- Government and association actions
- Defective construction, design, and maintenance
Tenant’s Policy Form HO4
An HO4 is a renter’s form that, since tenants do not own the building or unit they occupy, primarily affords personal property and liability coverages. This way, coverage for the dwelling and other structures is either missing or minimal.
Like most of the other policy forms referenced here, HO-4 coverage is written on a named perils basis, although most carriers offer endorsements that change coverage to all-risk.
Condominium Policy Form HO6
An HO6 (condominium) form shares similarities with HO3s and HO4s in that it provides some dwelling coverage. However, limits are typically minimal since condo owners are often only responsible for their unit’s walls, floors, and ceilings, but not exterior walls or roofing.
A bare-bones HO6 policy is written on a named perils basis, but like an HO3 and HO4, most carriers provide endorsements that can change this to all-risk.
Mobile Home Policy Form HO7
An HO7 is the manufactured and mobile home version of an HO3, whether related to a single-wide, double-wide, or triple-wide model. Coverage for the dwelling and other structures is written on an open perils basis and pays out replacement cost.
In contrast, personal property is insured on a named perils basis and pays out actual cash value (cost new less depreciation).
Homeowner’s Modified Form HO8
Also known as a homeowner’s modified form, an HO8 is designed to protect older homes, including those designated as historic or registered landmarks, against the same 10 core named perils found under an HO1 (plus liability and medical payments). Furthermore, policyholders are reimbursed on an actual cash value basis instead of replacement cost.
Which Homeowner’s Policy Form is Right For You?
With so many different homeowner’s policy forms available, how can you know which option is your best bet? You can count on the friendly professionals at IHS Insurance Group to walk you through everything and help you choose one that matches your coverage and budgetary needs.
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