Forms of Homeowner Insurance Policies

"HO" stands for "Homeowner". Exclusions for each policy generally include: war, nuclear hazard, earth movement, neglect, ordinance or law, flood, off premises power shortages, and intentional acts.

Each policy covers property damage and general liability. The differences in the forms are primarily in the covered perils in the property damage portion of the policy.

HO-0: Dwelling and Fire. Provides coverage to an owner's home against fire, explosions, smoke, hail, lighting, windstorm, vehicles, and civil unrest. There is no coverage for personal property, personal liability, or medical expenses.

HO-1: Basic Form. Protects the dwelling against eleven named perils: fire, lighting, hail, windstorm, theft, vandalism, damage from vehicles and aircraft, riots and civil commotion, volcanic eruption and glass breakage. It does not cover floods and earthquakes.

HO-2: Broad Form. This policy specifically covers perils listed in the policy and no others. There are seventeen perils listed on a broad form policy: the eleven covered under an HO-1 policy plus protection against falling objects, the weight of ice or snow, and malfunctioning electrical and other household equipment. It also provides living expenses if the dwelling is uninhabitable.

HO-3: Special Form. Designed for single-family homes, it covers any damage to a house or other structures unless the peril is specifically excluded. Floods and earthquakes are excluded. Coverage for personal property is for named perils only.

HO-4: Renters. Covers a tenant's personal property and personal liability against named-perils. It also includes liability insurance for damage to the property or for injuries to other people in the rented dwelling.

HO-5: Comprehensive Form. As long as the cause of damage is not excluded on the policy, any damage to the dwelling and its contents are covered.

HO-6: Condominiums. Designed specifically for condominiums and cooperatives, it does not cover the structure since that is covered by the association. Instead, it covers improvements within the air space such as carpeting, wallpaper, built-in appliances, and kitchen cabinets. It also provides coverage for personal property and personal liability. All perils covered in an HO-2 policy are similarly covered by an HO-6.

HO-7: Mobile Homes. This policy provides protection for mobile and manufactured homes and covers the structure, adjacent structures, and personal belongings. Liability coverage for accidents can be included.

HO-8: Older House. The policy is similar to an HO-3 policy, but modified to meet the needs of the older home since it may cost more to repair than its market value. It pays the cost to repair or replace damaged property with common construction materials. For example, plaster walls would be replaced with drywall.