What Type of Homeowners Insurance Policy do I Need?

image of a home

When it comes to shopping for a homeowners’ insurance policy, you have a wide variety of options.

Not only are there many home insurance providers, but there are also many types of homeowners insurance policies to choose from.

While these types differ for those who own their home vs. those who rent their home, what’s important is that you get the policy that meets your needs.

Currently, there are 8 types of “forms” used for homeowners’ insurance.

Each comes with different types of coverage, ranging from the basics to special situations. Be sure to determine which form best suits your living situation. Then, click on the map here to begin the process of getting a qualified homeowner insurance quote in your area.

 

 

Owning versus Renting

 

Generally speaking, homeowner insurance policies are differentiated based upon the kind of homeowner they are intended for. In other words, some policies are suited to folks who own their home, while others are designed to serve folks who rent their home.

In most situations, the following homeowner insurance forms are best suited to folks who own their home:

 

Meanwhile, folks who rent their home or apartment will mainly benefit from the following homeowner insurance form:

 

 

There are also a couple of special homeowner insurance forms that may apply to folks who either rent their home or own it outright. These dual-purpose forms include the following:

 

 

As you’ve likely noted, each of these forms is denoted with “HO” and a number. This is a common homeowner insurance policy label short for “homeowner.” Each of these numbers denotes a different type of policy. All of these policies are also described in further detail below.

HO-1 – Basic Form

 

As its name implies, the HO-1 is the most basic form of homeowner insurance. It is also sometimes called a “10 perils” policy because it covers the so-called “10 named perils,” which include the following:

 

    • Fire or smoke
    • Explosions
    • Hail and windstorms
    • Lightning
    • Vandalism
    • Theft
    • Damage from a vehicle
    • Damage from an aircraft
    • Riots and civil disturbances
    • Volcanic eruption

 

In some cases, this kind of policy can cover your home’s possessions. However, other policies are designed to accomplish that task more effectively. Also, this form does not usually cover personal liability for injuries that occur on your property.

 

While this form of coverage appears broadly applicable, they are actually fairly rare today. This is because more comprehensive forms are more useful and barely cost more to boot.

HO-2 – Broad Form

 

HO-2 Broad form coverage is a step up from the basics and covers several more types of potential harm to your home. This includes the following:

 

      • Falling objects
      • Sudden and accidental damage to an in-home pipe or another utility-type system
      • Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
      • Freezing of climate control systems like AC or heating
      • Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam (flooding)
      • Sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current (power surge)

 

More often than not, this form of coverage will cover the possessions within your home up to a certain dollar value. However, this form of coverage is still “limited” to a degree. That is because any damage to your home that does not fit within one of the categories above will likely not be covered.

HO-3 – Special Form

 

While “special” in name, this is one of the most common forms of homeowner insurance. That’s because it covers an even greater number of potential damage sources to your home. In addition to the perils covered in HO-1 and HO-2, these “special” policies usually cover all other sources of damages besides those specifically excluded. Earthquakes and floods are usually not covered in this type of policy, for example.

An HO-3 special form policy also tends to cover structures attached to the home, such as a garage. Moreover, they also tend to provide the owner with a greater degree of personal liability coverage for injuries occurring in or near the home.

HO-4 – Tenant’s Form

 

Tenants can most directly benefit from the HO-4 or tenants policy because it does not cover their building’s structure at all. Instead, it covers their personal possessions as well as some personal liability for injuries occurring in the rented dwelling. In many cases, this kind of “renters insurance” will also cover the cost of a temporary residence if the original rented dwelling becomes unfit for human habitation.

HO-5 – Comprehensive Form

 

As its name implies, HO-5  is the most comprehensive form of coverage available to homeowners. It is also the most expensive in almost all cases. As with an HO-3 policy, this form of coverage applies to all kinds of home damages that are not specifically excluded in writing. However, an HO-5 policy is less likely to include the following:

 

  • Neglect, deterioration, and general wear-and-tear
  • Earthquakes, landslides, or mudslides (“earth movements”)
  • Floods
  • Damage from or an infestation of birds, vermin, rodents, and insects
  • Your pets and other animals
  • Settling, shrinking, bulging, or expanding of your home’s foundation
  • Mold, fungus, and other forms of rot
  • Intentional loss
  • War, government action, and nuclear hazard
  • Ordinance or law

 

Not all of these exclusions are removed from every HO-5 policy, though. Prospective users of this form of coverage should request a specific list of coverages and exclusions when seeking out this kind of policy.

HO-6 – Condo Form

 

Like an HO-4 policy, an HO-6 policy is designed to cover the personal possessions and personal liability of the policyholder. However, this kind of so-called “condo insurance” may also cover some basic elements of property damage, including damage done to floors, walls, or the ceiling. In general, this type of policy is designed to work in tandem with a privately-issued master policy issued by the condo’s owners or the appropriate condo association.

HO-7 – Mobile Home Form

 

In almost all regards, the HO-7 form of coverage mirrors that of an HO-3 policy. However, they differ when it comes to specific policy applications due to the unique nature of a mobile home. The following kinds of permanent and semi-permanent dwellings may be covered under this form of insurance:

 

      • Trailers, travel trailers, and fifth-wheel trailers
      • Single-wide manufactured or mobile homes
      • Double-wide manufactured or mobile homes
      • Sectional homes
      • Modular homes
      • Park model homes and RVs

HO-8 – Older Home Form

 

If your home has passed a certain age since its construction, it may qualify for the HO-8 form of homeowner insurance. A policy under this form is similar to an HO-3 policy, but usually includes special provisions designed to meet the needs of an older overall structure. Often, historic homes and significant landmarks will carry this kind of coverage, even if no one regularly lives on the premises.

 

Which Form of Homeowners policy is Right for You?

 

Now that you know about all of these different forms, you may once again be asking yourself, “what type of homeowners insurance do I need?” In the end, that is an answer a qualified homeowners’ insurance agent can answer while taking into account the unique circumstances of your situation. In fact, some agents may even combine several forms of coverage to create a custom policy that meets your needs precisely.

Whether you rent or own your home, a variety of viable coverage options are just a few clicks away. To get started, click on your state on this interactive map. From there, we’ll help you find an agent in your area who can help you sort out which form of coverage can meet both your needs and your budget.

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For more information about the different types of homeowners insurance and to find out which one’s best right for you, please contact us through our website or call 800-712-8519 during normal business hours.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What type of homeowners’ insurance do I need?

When it comes to shopping for a homeowners’ insurance policy, you have a wide variety of options. Not only are there many home insurance providers, but there are also many types of homeowners insurance policies to choose from. It is best to consult a professional to discuss your personal needs and get the coverage you need.

Do I need homeowners’ insurance if I rent a house?

As a tenant you would look for coverage that does not cover the building’s structure. Instead, you would shop for a policy that covers your personal possessions as well as some personal liability for injuries occurring in the rented dwelling. In many cases, this kind of “renters insurance” will also cover the cost of a temporary residence if the original rented dwelling becomes unfit for human habitation.

Do I need homeowners’ insurance if I own a condominium?

In this case you may want to cover your personal possessions and liability. This so-called “condo insurance” may also cover some basic elements of property damage, including damage done to floors, walls, or the ceiling. In general, this type of policy is designed to work in tandem with a privately-issued master policy issued by the condo’s owners or the appropriate condo association.