What is an HO-1 Insurance Policy?

What is and isn't covered by an HO-1 Basic Form homeowners insurance policy?

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What is an HO-1 insurance policy?

An HO-1 insurance policy is the most basic form of homeowners coverage. It protects the physical structure of a home from circumstances specifically listed on the policy.

An HO-1 home insurance policy does not provide coverage for liability, personal belongings, or additional living expenses — only the dwelling itself. Continue reading to learn more about HO-1 coverage options.

  1. What does an HO-1 policy cover?
  2. What does an HO-1 policy not cover?
  3. Additional homeowners policy types

 

What does an HO-1 policy cover?

An HO-1 homeowners policy is the most barebones option typically sold by insurance companies. It offers no coverage for personal belongings, the insured party's liability, other parties' medical expenses, or coverage for accommodations if the home becomes uninhabitable. An HO-1 policy only covers the dwelling on a named peril basis (a peril is the reason for the damages).

In order for coverage to apply on a named peril policy, the damage to the home must be caused by one of the following perils:

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

An HO-1 homeowners insurance policy sometimes — but not always — covers damage to glass in the home.


What does an HO-1 policy not cover?

The main things an HO-1 policy does cover are the insured party's liability and personal property are the big ones. Because it only covers the basics, circumstances exist in which an HO-1 policy is inadequate.

Additional perils

Homeowners policies work in tiers — with HO-2, HO-3, and HO-5 being more comprehensive coverage options. These policies cover additional perils, including those listed below, not covered by an HO-1 policy.

  • Falling objects
  • Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
  • Freezing of household systems (AC or heating)
  • Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning, or bulging of pipes and other household systems
  • Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam
  • Sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current

 

Liability insurance

Liability insurance provides legal assistance and monetary protection the event of a lawsuit, making the liability portion of a homeowners policy very important. Without it, you can be held financially responsible if you damage someone’s personal belongings or cause them injury.


Personal property coverage

If your personal belongings are destroyed in a fire, an HO-1 policy would not cover these losses, including clothes, furniture, and appliances. If you’re considering an HO-1 policy, carefully evaluate the value of your personal property — can you afford to replace everything in your home?


Medical payments to others

If someone is injured on your property, this coverage would pay for their medical expenses.

Medical payment home insurance coverage includes:

  • Medical bills and payments
  • Surgical costs
  • Cost of X-rays
  • Dental procedures
  • Ambulance and hospital fees
  • Nursing care
  • Prosthetic devices
  • Funeral services

Without this coverage, you can be held liable for damages  — which means you can be sued. Lacking liability coverage puts your assets at risk.

Additional living expenses

Sometimes referred to as "loss of use," additional living expenses coverage handles costs incurred if you need to vacate the home due to a covered loss. If your home is damaged by fire and you need to live in a hotel for a few weeks, this coverage would reimburse you for your stay. Without this coverage, you would be stuck footing the bill for any temporary housing expenses.


Additional exclusions

There are some additional HO-1 policy exclusions. Many of these circumstances are excluded from all homeowners insurance policies.

  • Flood
  • Hurricane
  • Mold*
  • Vandalism to vacant dwellings
  • Wear and tear
  • Damage caused by pets
  • Earthquakes*
  • Enforcement of building codes and similar laws
  • Intentional acts
  • Neglect
  • Government acts

*Some policies allow you to add limited coverage for mold damage. Furthermore, you can add earthquake insurance via a supplementary policy.

 

Homeowners insurance coverage: what to consider

Because it only provides dwelling coverage, HO-1 policies are not very common. It is generally only used to cover your home against catastrophic losses, i.e, a total loss. An insurance company might require you to insure your home with an HO-1 policy if they deem you or your dwelling are too risky for other types of homeowners policies — this happens for older homes on occasion.

Many mortgage lenders will not approve HO-1 policies — for good reason. A home is an investment and should be insured as such. Insurance is one of the cheaper aspects of homeownership, so it's worth the small investment. Below are additional policies worth considering if you’re interested in home insurance.

  • HO-2 — Broad Form Policy
  • HO-3 — Special Form Policy
  • HO-5 — Comprehensive Form Policy

While an HO-2 policy is slightly more common than an HO-1, it still falls short of the default home insurance coverage. HO-5 is the most comprehensive form of homeowners insurance, while an HO-3 policy is the most common home insurance policy type.

Learn more about homeowners insurance.

If you’re looking for a competitive home insurance quote, call (888) 493-9728 or click below.

 


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Kristine Lee
Kristine LeeManager, Content and Data

Kristine is a licensed insurance agent who joined The Zebra in 2019 as an in-house content researcher and writer.

She is an authority on all things insurance and covers the ins and outs of auto, home, life and renters insurance. Her specialty is in providing data-backed insights and information to help insurance shoppers make informed decisions.

Kristine's insurance expertise and research have been cited by publications such as CNBC, Car and Driver, Business Insider, Yahoo!, The Balance, Nationwide and Elephant.

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