What are the different types of home insurance policy forms?
Last updated: January 1
Whether you're insuring a condo, house or apartment, you may have seen some unfamiliar terms — like HO-6, HO-3 or HO-4 — when reading your policy. Or, you might have overheard your insurance agent say that your homeowners insurance is an HO-3 form. You might be wondering what these terms mean. They are different types of home insurance policy forms.
Insurance companies typically write policies on certain forms, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). The type of home you live in will help determine the coverage and policy form you have.
For example, a renter's policy form will be different than a homeowner's.
Here is a breakdown of the common types of home insurance policy forms:
How many HO forms are there?
As a homeowner, you have a few choices when it comes to the type of coverage and policy forms you may want.
An HO-3 offers "open peril" coverage for the structure of your home. This means your policy will help pay for repairs if your home is damaged by any peril — unless that peril is specifically listed as an exclusion in your policy documents.
However, an HO-3 offers "named peril" coverage for your personal property (such as furniture, electronics and clothing). With named peril coverage, your policy helps pay to repair or replace your belongings only if they're damaged by the perils that are specifically listed in your policy. If the peril is not listed, it is not covered.
The HO-3 form helps cover up to 16 named perils, according to the III. These include:
- Fire and smoke
- Lightning strikes
- Windstorms and hail
- Vandalism and malicious mischief
- Damage from an aircraft, car or vehicle
- Falling objects
- Weight of ice, snow or sleet
- Water damage
An HO-1, or "basic form," is a policy that typically helps cover 10 perils (compared with the 16 perils covered by an HO-3). For example, falling objects or the weight of ice are perils not covered by an HO-1 form, the III says. Due to the limited coverage of an HO-1, many insurers no longer offer this type of policy form.
An HO-2, or "broad form," also provides limited coverage. It's called a "broad form" because it may help cover a broader range of perils than the HO-1 "basic form."
This type of form helps protect older homes. It helps cover up to 10 perils, according to the III. However, the reimbursement for any covered damage is paid on an actual cash value basis instead of replacement cost, says the III. This means an insurer will pay for what the cost of the item is minus depreciation. Historic homes and registered landmarks usually carry this type of policy.
Renters insurance form: HO-4
A standard renters insurance policy is also known as an HO-4. This type of policy form helps protect a renter's personal belongings against 16 perils, says the III.
An HO-4 does not cover damage to the rental unit. The renter's landlord would need a separate landlord insurance policy to help protect the structure of the rental property.
Condo insurance form: HO-6
A condo insurance policy is typically written on an HO-6 form. You may hear it referred to as "walls-in" coverage. This is because it may help protect the unit's walls, floors and ceilings against 16 perils. An HO-6 also helps cover the condo owner's personal belongings.
Note that the condo association may have a separate policy to help protect the condo building and its common areas.
Mobile home form: HO-7
A typical mobile home insurance policy is an HO-7 form. It helps protect the personal property and physical structure of the home. This type of policy form is a modified version of an HO-2. The perils covered by an HO-7 may be different than those covered by a standard HO-2.