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What's the difference between HO-2, HO-3, HO-4, HO-5 and HO-6 policies?

I'm looking for homeowners insurance and I'm getting confused by these numbers. What do they mean?

Apr 14, 2019 Bedford, OH

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Good question! These numbers correspond to either home, renters, or condo insurance. Here is a simple breakdown:

HO-1Basic form — this only covers you from 10 named perils. "Named-peril" means that your home and personal property are covered against losses that are expressly listed on your policy. Any loss that occurs outside of that list would not be covered by the policy. The 10 named perils are:

  • Fire or smoke
  • Explosions
  • Lightning
  • Hail and windstorms
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Damage from vehicles
  • Damage from aircraft
  • Riots and civil commotion
  • Volcanic eruption

HO-2 — Designates a "broad form" homeowners insurance policy that provides insurance coverage on a "named-peril" basis. There are 16 covered perils on a broad form policy. They are:

  • Lightning or fire
  • Hail or windstorm
  • Damage caused by aircraft
  • Explosions
  • Riots or civil disturbances
  • Smoke damage
  • Damage caused by vehicles
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • 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
  • Pipe freezing

HO-3 — Designates a "special form" homeowners insurance policy that provides insurance coverage for the structure of your home on an "open-peril" basis. "Open-peril" means that you are covered against all losses except those that are expressly excluded in your policy. It's important to note that your personal property is still covered on a "named-peril" basis with an HO-3 policy. This is the most common type of policy.

HO-4 — Simply speaking, this policy type describes a renters insurance policy. Typically with these policies, your liability and your personal property are covered up to the policy limits. This is an ideal policy for someone renting an apartment or house.

HO-5 — Designates a "comprehensive form" homeowners insurance policy. This policy type covers both your home and personal property on an "open-peril" basis. This is the broadest form of home insurance available. Given the comprehensive levels of coverage, this isn't as common of a home insurance policy as an HO-2 or HO-3 policy but is highly encouraged if you have valuable belongings.

HO-6 — Designates a condo insurance policy. These policies generally cover your personal property and the structure of your condo from the wall studs in. You should still consult with the agent quoting a policy for your home and ask about the specifics of how that policy would apply.

Check out our in-depth guide to homeowners insurance for more information. If you're shopping for car insurance, use The Zebra to view multiple auto quotes and find the best rate.

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