8 types of homeowners insurance

We break down the eight different types of homeowners insurance policies — whether you need coverage for a house, condo, mobile home, and more.

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Pat HowardManaging Editor & Licensed Home Insurance ExpertPat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.&Rachael BrennanSenior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance ExpertRachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

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Jennifer GimbelJennifer GimbelSenior Managing Editor & Home Insurance ExpertJennifer Gimbel is a senior managing editor and home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she oversees our homeowners insurance coverage. Previously, she was the managing editor at Finder.com and a content strategist at Babble.com.
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Michael Reynolds, CSRIC®, AIF®, CFT-I™Michael Reynolds, CSRIC®, AIF®, CFT-I™Financial AdvisorMichael Reynolds, CSRIC®, AIF®, CFT-I™, is a financial advisor, principal and founder of Elevation Financial, host of the weekly personal finance podcast Wealth Redefined®, and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius.

Updated|5 min read

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Here’s a rundown of the eight different types of homeowners insurance policies you can choose from based on your home and coverage needs.

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Types of homeowners insurance

  • HO-1: The most limited policy type for single-family homes, HO-1s generally aren’t sold by insurance providers anymore.

  • HO-2: A more common policy type for single-family homes and a slight upgrade from the HO-1.

  • HO-3: The most common type of homeowners insurance policy for single-family homes, with broader coverage than the HO-2.

  • HO-4: A policy type that is specifically for tenants and is referred to as renters insurance.

  • HO-5: The most comprehensive form of homeowners insurance and the second most common policy type for single-family homes.

  • HO-6: A type of coverage designed for condo owners.

  • HO-7: The type of policy you get if you own a mobile or manufactured home.

  • HO-8: A special type of homeowners insurance for older properties that cost more to rebuild than what they’re actually worth on the market.

HO-1: Basic Form

HO-1 homeowners insurance offers the least amount of coverage and is rarely sold anymore. It only includes coverage for the physical structure of your home and personal belongings — and only at their actual cash value. This means depreciation (AKA years of wear and tear) is subtracted from your final claim payout.

As a named-perils policy, it only covers your home and belongings against the 10 named perils specifically listed in your policy. These include:

  • Fire or lightning

  • Windstorm or hail

  • Explosion

  • Riot or civil commotion

  • Aircraft

  • Vehicles

  • Smoke

  • Vandalism

  • Theft

  • Falling objects

Unlike more robust home insurance policies, HO-1 policies don't include coverage for liability, medical payments to others, or additional living expenses, which is why many states no longer offer HO-1 policies. [1]

To put this into context, HO-1 policies only made up 1.8% of single-family home insurance policies nationwide in 2021, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. [2]

Learn more >> HO-1 insurance guide

HO-2: Broad Form

An HO-2 policy offers more coverage than an HO-1 policy, but still not as much as a standard HO-3 policy.

With a broad form policy, the following are protected:

  • Physical structure of your home at its replacement cost value

  • Unattached structures at their replacement cost value

  • Personal property at its actual cash value

  • Additional living expenses

  • Liability

  • Medical payments to others

HO-2 policies also offer protection from six additional named perils:

  • Weight of ice, snow, or sleet

  • Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam

  • Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning, or bulging of a built-in appliance like a water heater, or centralized air conditioner or heating system

  • Freezing

  • Sudden and accidental damage from an artificially generated electrical current, like power surges

  • Volcanic eruption

HO-2 policies also aren't very common and only made up 6.7% of single-family home insurance policies countrywide in 2021, according to the NAIC. [3]

Learn more >> HO-2 insurance guide

Ready to shop for home insurance?

HO-3: Special Form

An HO-3 policy is the most common type of homeowners insurance on the market, accounting for 78.2% of home insurance policies in 2021, according to the NAIC. [4]  

HO-3 policies include coverage for the physical structure of your home, other structures on your property, personal belongings, additional living expenses, personal liability, and medical payments to others.

By default, HO-3 policies cover your home at its replacement cost and your personal property at its actual cash value. However, most insurance companies will let you add a replacement cost personal property endorsement to your policy for a small fee.

When it comes to perils, HO-3 policies provide all-risks coverage for your home. Also known as open-perils coverage, all-risks coverage means your policy covers everything except the causes of loss that are specifically listed in your policy — called home insurance exclusions.

Covered perils

HO-3 policies protect your home and belongings from these 16 perils:

  • Fire or lightning

  • Windstorm or hail

  • Explosion

  • Riot or civil commotion

  • Aircraft

  • Vehicles

  • Smoke

  • Vandalism

  • Theft

  • Falling objects

  • Weight of ice, snow, or sleet

  • Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam

  • Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning, or bulging of a built-in appliance like a water heater, or centralized air conditioner or heating system

  • Freezing

  • Sudden and accidental damage from an artificially generated electrical current, like power surges

  • Volcanic eruption

Excluded perils

HO-3 policies don't cover:

  • Ordinance of law

  • Earth movement

  • Water damage from flooding, sewer backups, or water that seeps up from the ground

  • Power failure

  • Neglect

  • War

  • Nuclear hazard

  • Intentional loss

  • Government action

  • Theft to a dwelling under construction

  • Vandalism or malicious mischief (if the home was vacant for more than 60 days)

  • Mold, fungus, or wet rot (except if it resulted from an accidental discharge or overflow of water)

  • Wear and tear

  • Mechanical breakdown

  • Smog, rust or other corrosion

  • Smoke from agricultural smudging and industrial operations

  • Discharge, dispersal, seepage of pollutants

  • Settling, shrinking, bulging, or expanding of parts of the structure like your foundation or walls

  • Birds, vermin, rodents, insects Animals owned by insured

Learn more >> HO-3 insurance guide

HO-4: Contents Broad Form

Better known as renters insurance, HO-4 policies cover your personal belongings both inside your rental property and anywhere else in the world. In other words, if your laptop is stolen from your hotel room while on vacation, renters insurance may help reimburse you for a new one. 

Renters insurance covers renters' property from damage or loss caused by the same 16 named perils found in HO-2 and HO-3 policies. Personal belongings are usually covered at their replacement cost, but check with your insurance provider to be sure.

Renters insurance also comes with liability coverage and additional living expenses coverage if your apartment is damaged and you need to temporarily live somewhere else.

However, HO-4 policies do not include dwelling coverage for the physical structure of the home since these policies are designed for renters and not homeowners. If the apartment or house you're living in is damaged, it’s your landlord’s responsibility to fix it or file a claim using their own insurance coverage.

Learn more >> HO-4 insurance guide

HO-5: Comprehensive Form

HO-5 homeowners insurance provides the highest level of coverage for single-family homes.

It's designed for high-value properties that require higher dwelling coverage limits, extra protection for possessions and expensive keepsakes, and access to coverage add-ons not found on standard policies. If you get coverage through a company like Chubb or AIG, you’re likely getting HO-5 coverage.

While HO-5 home insurance is very similar to HO-3 policies, there are some notable differences.

Home

HO-5 policy

  • Dwelling and personal property are insured at their replacement cost by default. 

  • All-risks coverage for both your home and personal belongings.

  • High coverage limits for expensive types of property with normally strict coverage limits, including jewelry, fine furs, and certain electronics.

Home

HO-3 policy

  • Dwelling is insured at its replacement cost and personal property is insured at its actual cash value.

  • All-risks dwelling coverage but named perils personal property coverage.

  • Limited coverage for expensive types of property, like jewelry, fine furs, and certain electronics.

Because of the robust coverage you get with an HO-5 policy, rates are typically more expensive than any other policy type on this list. HO-5 policies only accounted for 13% of home insurance policies in 2021, according to the NAIC. [5]

Learn more >> HO-5 insurance guide

Ready to shop for high-value home insurance?

HO-6: Unit-owners Form

Also known as condo insurance, an HO-6 policy is for people who live in a condominium or co-op unit. It protects the interior of your condo (aka dwelling coverage) and the personal belongings inside from the 16 perils listed in your insurance policy (the same found in HO-2 and HO-3 policies).

The amount of dwelling coverage you need in your condo policy varies based on what’s already covered under your condo association's master policy. A master policy typically covers the exterior structure of the condo building and any common areas.

Most condo owners will at least want enough dwelling coverage to cover the cost of upgrades or renovations to the unit, such as a remodeled kitchen or bathroom with custom tiles and fixtures.

Condo insurance also comes with additional living expenses, personal liability, medical payments to others, and loss assessment coverage.

Learn more >> Guide to HO-6 insurance

Ready to shop for condo insurance?

HO-7: Mobile Home Form

HO-7 insurance, more commonly known as, is basically an HO-3 policy that's designed specifically for mobile, manufactured, and other factory-built homes.

Here are the different types of mobile homes covered under an HO-7 policy:

  • Trailers, travel trailers, fifth-wheel trailers

  • Single-wide manufactured and single-wide mobile homes

  • Double-wide manufactured and double-wide mobile homes

  • Sectional homes

  • Modular homes

  • Park model homes and RVs

HO-7 policies include coverage for the physical structure of your mobile home, other structures on your property, personal belongings, additional living expenses, personal liability, and medical payments to others. Like with HO-3 policies, both your mobile home and personal belongings are covered by the 16 perils listed in your policy.

Learn more >> Guide to HO-7 insurance

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HO-8: Modified Coverage Form

HO-8 homeowners insurance is designed for older or historic homes with ornate features and other characteristics that would be difficult to replace. You generally need HO-8 insurance if your home's replacement cost is higher than its market value.

HO-8 insurance covers the physical structure of your home, other structures on your property, personal belongings, personal liability, additional living expenses, personal liability, and medical payments to others.

HO-8 insurance is covered on a named perils basis and only covers 10 perils. If your home is damaged by a covered peril, HO-8 policies typically pay out the actual cash value of the structure of your home and personal belongings rather than its replacement cost. 

Some carriers may also offer HO-8 policies that pay for damage to property that’s hard to replace on a functional replacement cost basis. For example, a home with antique windows and hardwood flooring may be replaced with cheaper and more modern replacements.

HO-8 policies only accounted for 0.4% of home insurance policies in 2021, according to the NAIC. [6]

Learn more >> Guide to HO-8 insurance

A licensed expert at Policygenius can help you decide which policy type you need

When it comes to the different types of homeowners insurance policy forms, you may still be left with unanswered questions while shopping for home insurance, such as: What does it mean if my homeowners insurance is an HO-3 policy? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Is this the right type of insurance for me? Compare home insurance quotes with a licensed insurance expert at Policygenius to get the answers you need.

Ready to shop home insurance?

References

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Policygenius uses external sources, including government data, industry studies, and reputable news organizations to supplement proprietary marketplace data and internal expertise. Learn more about how we use and vet external sources as part of oureditorial standards.

  1. National Association of Insurance Commissioners

    . "

    A Shopping Tool for Homeowners Insurance

    ." Accessed January 17, 2024.

  2. National Association of Insurance Commissioners

    . "

    Dwelling Fire, Homeowners Owner-Occupied, and Homeowners Tenant and Condominium/Cooperative Unit Owner’s Insurance Report: Data for 2021

    ." Accessed January 17, 2024.

Authors

Pat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

Editor

Jennifer Gimbel is a senior managing editor and home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she oversees our homeowners insurance coverage. Previously, she was the managing editor at Finder.com and a content strategist at Babble.com.

Expert reviewer

Michael Reynolds, CSRIC®, AIF®, CFT-I™, is a financial advisor, principal and founder of Elevation Financial, host of the weekly personal finance podcast Wealth Redefined®, and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius.

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