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Ross Martin

Insurance Writer

  • 4+ years in the Insurance Industry

Ross joined The Zebra as a writer and researcher in 2019. He specializes in writing insurance content to help shoppers make informed decisions.

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Kristine Lee

Insurance Analyst

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty
  • 4+ years of Experience in the Insurance Industry

Kristine is a licensed insurance agent who joined The Zebra in 2019 as an in-house content researcher and writer. Before joining The Zebra, she was a…

HO-5 insurance: policy definitions and details

A home is the biggest investment most people will make in their lifetime, so it’s important to get the right homeowners insurance policy. If you want an all-encompassing policy, consider going with an HO-5.

The most comprehensive form of home insurance, an HO-5 policy is essentially the Cadillac option. It goes furthest in covering you, your home, and your valuables. Unlike HO-2 and HO-3 policies, which cover specifically named perils (causes of a loss), the HO-5 policy covers all perils unless they are explicitly listed in your policy as being excluded. This type of policy is known as “open peril.”

  1. What does an HO-5 policy cover?
  2. What does an HO-5 policy not cover?
  3. Homeowners insurance: what to consider


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.

Furthermore, an HO-5 policy basically removes the need to prove that damages were caused by a named peril, which can simplify the entire claims process. 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
  • 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
  • Frozen pipes


Insurance level Property coverage against Contents covered against
HO-5 Comprehensive Form Open peril Open peril


An HO-5 policy will reimburse your primary dwelling at replacement cost value, while your personal property is reimbursed at either actual cost value or replacement cost value — depending on the specifics of your policy.

  • Actual cash value looks specifically at the depreciation of your property when considering your claim payout, meaning you will not get the full value that you paid for it.
  • Replacement cost covers the amount needed to replace your property at its current market value. This is a more comprehensive form of coverage.


Personal property

The HO-5 policy extends open-peril coverage to personal property as well. This means that you no longer have to prove that your property was damaged by one of the 16 named perils.

Personal property also includes items that have special coverage sub-limits. This is meant to encourage those with high-value items like jewelry, furniture, certain electronics, and paintings to seek out special insurance options for them. Below are standard limitations.





Money, gold, coins



Jewelry, watches, furs



Watercraft, trailers









Business property



Business property





If any item you own is above the sub-limit listed, you should consider adding an endorsement to your policy. An endorsement would increase the sub-limit level of any category of items. If you have one particular item of value, such as an engagement ring, you should consider a scheduled endorsement. A scheduled endorsement is specific to the one item and requires an appraisal. However, if the item is very valuable, it is the best way to ensure it is protected.


Additional living expenses

If a covered loss renders your home unlivable, this coverage provides for your living expenses for a certain amount of time or up to a certain monetary limit. This is sometimes known as "loss of use."

Personal liability

This coverage protects you should someone suffer bodily injury or property damage on your insured property. It even stretches beyond your property, providing protection for you in the event that your actions cause bodily injury or property damage anywhere. It covers medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Medical payments to others

Also known as “no-fault” or “goodwill” coverage, this coverage pays the medical expenses of individuals injured on your property. The base limit of this coverage is $1,000, though it can be increased. It may cover the cost of:

  • Medical bills and payments
  • Surgery costs
  • Ambulance or other hospital fees
  • X-rays
  • Dental work
  • Nursing care
  • Prosthetic devices
  • Funeral expenses


What does an HO-5 policy not cover?

While the HO-5 policy offers the most protection than other home policies, there are still exclusions. They include the following:

  • Flood*
  • Hurricane
  • Mold**
  • Vandalism to vacant dwellings
  • Wear and tear
  • Property damage caused by pets
  • Earthquakes***
  • Enforcement of building codes and similar laws
  • Intentional acts
  • Neglect
  • Government acts
  • Nuclear hazard
  • Off-premises power failure

*You can get flood insurance through FEMA in many states.

**Some policies allow the addition of limited mold damage coverage.

***You can add earthquake insurance separately.


HO-5 — Homeowners insurance coverage: what to consider

In order to provide ample coverage and protect your investment, many insurance agents often encourage clients to opt for an HO-3 (Special Form Policy) or an HO-5 (Comprehensive Form Policy). The HO-5 policy can be more restrictive than the HO-3 and is usually reserved for newer or more expensive homes in areas that are better protected from fires.

If you are looking for more robust coverage for your home, its contents, and its inhabitants, and your home fits the requirements, an HO-5 policy provides the most protection. For competitive homeowner’s insurance quotes, call 855-493-972 or click the link below.

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About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

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  • The Zebra’s insurance editorial content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
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