What does an HO-8 Policy Cover?

what does an HO-8 policy cover

Most homeowner’s insurance policies are for homes built within the last 40 years.

Homes in this age range tend to be relatively stable and relatively low-risk, so a normal HO-3 or HO-5 policy is usually good enough for protection.

Older houses, though, need special insurance protection If your home is old or made from materials that are not very common, then your best bet might be to get an HO-8 insurance policy.

 

What Is an HO-8 Policy?

 

An HO-8 homeowner’s insurance policy is designed specifically for older homes that may be difficult to rebuild for whatever reasons. If your home is old, made from unique materials that are hard to find, is a historical landmark, or is otherwise culturally or architecturally important, then you will likely want to get an HO-8 policy.

For instance, if the walls in your home are made from an old material that is no longer readily available, replacing these fixtures can be extraordinarily expensive. An HO-8 policy is explicitly designed to cover these kinds of expenses that you probably wouldn’t run into with a newer home.

 

What Does an HO-8 Policy Cover?

 

HO-8 policies protect your dwelling and personal property on a named peril basis. This means that your dwelling and possessions will be covered if they are damaged by any event that is included in the insurance agreement. If your dwelling or possessions are damaged by a peril not on the list, then it will not be covered.

 

HO-8 Policies Are Typically Actual Cash Value Policies 

 

HO-8 policies are typically written as actual cash value policies, not replacement cost policies. With an actual cash policy, your policy will reimburse you for the current value of any lost items. Actual cash value policies factor in depreciation of the item when calculating how much to pay out, so there is the chance you get reimbursed for less than what you originally paid for it. This is opposed to a replacement cost policy that will straight up replace damaged goods with new identical versions.

HO-8 policies are normally actual cash value because of the kind of homes they are meant to insure. HO-8 policies insure old homes or homes that are made from old materials that may no longer be common. The market value of these kinds of homes tend to be substantially less than the replacement or restoration cost, or restoration costs using identical antique materials might exceed the cost of current materials and techniques.

For example, your home has an old staircase made from a specially treated rare wood that is destroyed in a fire. It would be prohibitively expensive to exactly replace the staircase as it’s not made from commonly available wood or by using current mainstream methods. In this case, an HO-8 policy would cover the costs to replace the staircase using common materials and methods.

 

Dwelling

HO-8 policies primarily provide dwelling protection on a named peril basis. In this sense, they are similar to HO-1 policies. The named perils included on an HO-8 agreement are:

  • Wind damage
  • Civil commotion and riots
  • Smoke damage
  • Hail damage
  • Aircraft damage
  • Vehicular damage
  • Volcanoes
  • Explosions
  • Vandalism of an occupied residence
  • Theft

 

Again, HO-8 policies usually will not replace damaged dwellings or fixtures with identical materials. Your policy will repair damages using modern or common building practices and materials. So your policy will restore the damages square-footage, but not necessarily with the same materials or techniques.

 

Personal Property

HO-8 policies also protect your personal property on a named peril basis. Personal possessions include things like furniture, clothing, electronics, artwork, etc. Typically, Ho-8 policies include sub-limits for coverage on specific types of items. Musical equipment, for example, might have a sub-limit coverage of $3,000. So if $5,000 of your musical equipment is stolen, then your policy will only pay for $3,000 in damages, even if your broad coverage is more than $3,000 (and subject to your deductible).

The named perils for personal property coverage are generally the same as those listed for dwelling coverage. Property coverage is generally written on a replacement cost basis, but it can be written as an actual cash value policy.

 

Liability Coverage

HO-8 policies also include liability coverage in case you find yourself in a legal situation. If someone is injured in your home and sues for damages, liability coverage will pay for some or all of your legal expenses. For example, if you have $100,000 in liability coverage and are sued, your insurance will cover up to $100,000 in legal fees and damages.

 

Additional Living Expenses

HO-8 policies also have provisions to reimburse you if you must relocate temporarily while your home is repaired or rebuilt. If your home is rendered uninhabitable due to a named peril on your agreement, an HO-8 policy will cover any extra relocation expenses you have, including hotel and Airbnb fees. Loss of use coverage typically has limits based on duration and monetary amount.

 

What Is Not Covered by an HO-8 Policy?

 

Given that HO-8 policies are named-peril policies, if anything happens to your home that is not on the list of covered perils, your insurance won’t cover it. As such, there are a lot of things that an HO-8 policy will not cover:

  • Earthquakes
  • Floods
  • Mold and rot
  • Falling objects (e.g., trees, boulders, etc.)
  • Intentional damage
  • Pollution damage
  • War
  • Government action

Keep in mind that some of these specific perils can be covered if you purchase additional supplemental insurance.

 

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HO-8 vs. HO-3

 

HO-8 plans are not as comprehensive with their coverage as HO-3 policies are. HO-3 policies are sometimes called “standard homeowner’s policies” and protect your dwelling on an open-peril basis and your property on a named peril basis.

HO-8 policies, in contrast, operate on a named-peril basis for both your dwelling and personal property. That is why they have less coverage; there are a lot of perils that won’t be covered on and HO-8 that will be covered on an HO-3.

 

Should I Get HO-8 Coverage?

 

If you own an old home or a home whose replacement and repair costs are substantially more than its current market rate, then you should definitely look into HO-8 insurance. For many older homes and historical monuments, HO-8 insurance is the only kind you can get.

Unfortunately, these kinds of homes have inherent risks that make them unsuitable for more comprehensive coverage like HO-3 or HO-5 insurance. The fact that replacement materials might have extraordinary costs is one reason why HO-8 policies are mostly always actual cash value policies instead of replacement cost policies.

If you need an HO-8 policy, you need to consider your home’s age, building technique, building materials, and geographic location to determine how much insurance you should buy.  Homeowners who live in areas where disasters might be more common will most likely need to purchase additional coverage for perils like earthquakes or hurricanes.

If you are looking for homeowner’s insurance, consider using our insurance lookup tool. You can compare and contrast quotes for all kinds of different insurance types from the most reputable providers to find a plan that works for you and your home.

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For more information about older or historical home insurance, please contact us through our website or call 800-712-8519 during normal business hours.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an HO-8 policy?

An HO-8 homeowner’s insurance policy is designed specifically for older homes that may be difficult to rebuild for whatever reasons. If your home is old, made from unique materials that are hard to find, is a historical landmark, or is otherwise culturally or architecturally important, then you will likely want to get an HO-8 policy.

What are some events that an HO-8 policy will NOT cover?

A few events not covered by an HO-8 policy are:
Earthquakes
Floods
Mold and rot
Falling objects (e.g., trees, boulders, etc.)
Intentional damage
Pollution damage
War
Government action

What are some events that are covered by an HO-8 policy?

HO-8 policies primarily provide dwelling protection on a named peril basis. In this sense, they are similar to HO-1 policies. The named perils included on an HO-8 agreement are:

Wind damage
Civil commotion and riots
Smoke damage
Hail damage
Aircraft damage
Vehicular damage
Volcanoes
Explosions
Vandalism of an occupied residence
Theft