After suffering damage to your property, the collectability under a homeowners insurance policy depends on a variety of factors, but most notably, the type of policy. In general terms Homeowners insurance may pay for repairing or rebuilding your damaged home, temporary shelter if your home is uninhabitable, damage to your home’s contents and your personal belongings that are damaged or stolen . It may also cover medical expenses of injured guests, damage to someone else’s property and legal fees and court judgments if you are found to be liable . But only if a covered peril caused the loss and you did not intentionally cause the loss.

While each insurance company prepares its own contracts, most sell policies that are similar. The form number on a typical policy usually includes one of the below labels:

HO-2 & HO-4 (“The Broad Form”)

These policies list EVERY covered peril. The policy will not pay for any peril not listed. HO-3 The Special Form. 

HO-3 (“The Special Form”)

The HO-3 is the most common homeowner’s policy today Instead of listing the perils it does cover, the HO-3 policy lists the perils it does not cover. The policy will pay when the building damage is caused by any peril (subject to limitations in the policy) that is not on the list of exclusions. The HO-3 coverage for contents (personal property rather than the structure) is identical to the HO-2.

HO-4 Tenant (“Renter’s Insurance”)

The HO-4 policy insures the contents of your rented  home but not the building itself. It generally lists every covered peril. 


The HO-5 covers most types of damage except earthquakes, wars and floods .

HO-6 (“Condo Coverage”)

The HO-6 policy insures your condo contents and only the portion of the building you own (such as  the interior walls) independent of other owners.  Know what part of the building your insurance covers and compare it to the parts covered by the condo association in order to ensure that any coverage gaps are filled.

HO-8 (“Market Rate Coverage”)

The HO-8 policy insures the structure based on its “market value.’’ If your house burns down, the policy  will pay no more than it would have sold for on the day before the fire

Mobile Homeowner’s Insurance

Companies use a special policy to insure mobile homes (with or without wheels). These policies are  not as standardized as other home policies, so read them carefully. Physical damage coverage for a mobile home may differ significantly from standard homeowners policies .

Insurance Exclusions

Typical Exclusions for the HO-2, -3, -4, -5 and -6 Forms Typical exclusions include earthquake, flood, water damage (sewer backup or basement leak), power failure off your premises, poor home maintenance,  war, collapse, nuclear hazard, intentional acts of  an insured, and laws and ordinance enforcement (building codes). Be sure to review your policy’s exclusions and limitations so that you know what is not covered. You can usually purchase additional coverage for most items that are excluded under the policy.

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