The HO-3 has been the standard homeowners insurance policy since the 1950s, and is adequate for most homeowners personal insurance needs. For older homes, it’s still an excellent choice. But today, there’s something much better, particularly for newer, well-maintained homes. It’s known generically as the HO-5 homeowners insurance policy.
While the HO-5 is offered only on a limited basis – generally to newer homes (typically built within the past 30 years), those with higher values, and those meticulously maintained should protect themselves with this broader HO5 homeowners insurance policy form. In some cases, depending on the year of construction, the town you live in, your claims history, and other rating factors, you can buy an HO-5 for about the same cost as a traditional HO-3.
Who needs HO-5 insurance?
Premiums on HO-5 policies are generally higher than those of other home insurance policy forms. This home insurance form was created to fulfill the requirements of homeowners who desire comprehensive protection for their homes and personal belongings. High-value homes, with a market value of $400,000 or more, are typically covered by HO-5 policies.
However, if you want the most protection possible, an HO-5 policy is ideal. This premium coverage covers the greatest perils and provides even more protection for your valuables. An HO-5 policy can be obtained at a low cost by homeowners with no or few past claims and excellent credit history.
What does an HO-5 policy cover?
An HO-5 policy covers the physical structure of your home as well as any other structures, like fences, shed, or a detached garage. It also covers your personal belongings, insuring them against all threats unless specifically named by the policy.
The starting point of the HO-5 is how it covers your Contents, (also known as Personal Property on your policy page). While the HO-3 covers your Contents on a “named perils” basis, the HO-5 covers contents on an “open perils” basis.
In addition, many of the limitations of the HO-3 are removed, existing coverages expanded, and new coverages added. Several common provisions that have had to be added to the HO-3 by specific endorsement are included automatically in the HO-5. For example, with an HO-5, you don’t have to check to see if “replacement cost” coverage on your home and on your content has been added to your policy. The HO-5 includes it automatically.
Some of the more common named perils that are covered by both HO-3 and HO-5 policies include the following:
- Lightning or fire
- Hail or windstorm
- Damage caused by aircraft
- Riots or civil disturbances
- Smoke damage
- Damage caused by vehicles
- Falling objects
- Volcanic eruption
- Damage from the weight of snow, ice, or sleet
- Water damage from plumbing, heating, or air conditioning overflow
- Water heater cracking, tearing, and burning
- Damage from electrical current
- Frozen pipes
What does HO-5 insurance not cover?
Homeowners insurance does not relieve you of the duty to maintain your home. If an adjuster for insurance concludes that a loss was caused by negligence, the company may refuse your claim. For example, if you leave a water heater to leak for many months, the insurer will most likely deny a request to replace rotted flooring.
Similarly, homeowners insurance will not cover damage caused as a result of unlawful conduct.
Most HO-5 policies exclude losses caused by certain perils, including:
Most homeowners policies don’t cover earthquake damage to your house or personal belongings. Many insurance companies, on the other hand, provide separate earthquake coverage that may protect your home’s structure and private items like computers, electronics, and furniture.
Flood damage is not covered by standard HO-5 insurance. Some major insurers provide various flood insurance coverage. The National Flood Insurance Program offers a flood policy option as well.
Mold coverage is not covered by most homeowners insurance policies. Mold, when left unchecked, may result in extensive damage. Mold can force a family to relocate from their house and result in hefty remediation expenses in extreme situations. Maintain a regular cleaning schedule and remove mold as soon as possible to avoid mold damage.
- Mice, rats, and squirrels can wreak havoc on your house and personal items, from damaged wiring to roof damage. Birds, insects, and rodents are not covered by HO-5 insurance regulations. Call an exterminator or an animal removal service as soon As possible if pests enter your home to avoid expensive damage.
Since insurance is to protect you from the unexpected, it’s better to get it before it is too late! Contact one of our consultants for a friendly review today! Click here to contact us.