When you’re shopping for home insurance policies, a lot of people don’t know that there are actually different types of policies available to them. Each type of homeowners’ policy has its pros and cons. The home insurance policy that your neighbor has may not be the best one for you. Here, we’ll go over the most common homeowner’s insurance policy in the U.S. – the HO-3 insurance policy. Find out what it covers and if going this route is best for your Atlanta home.
What is an HO-3 homeowners insurance policy?
An HO-3 insurance policy is a type of homeowners insurance that will cover your home and belongings within certain named perils and open perils restrictions. This may seem confusing if you have no idea of what named perils or open perils are. So, here’s a quick rundown:
What is a named perils policy?
Most insurance policies, regardless of the type of property it is, will have a list of certain disasters and events that your home can be damaged by. If your home or something in your home is damaged by something on that list, it is covered, and your insurance company can help you with the costs that it will take to repair or replace that item. If something is damaged by an event that is not listed, then you’re left covering the cost of the repairs yourself.
Some named perils that are usually found on most home insurance policies:
- Fire & lightning damage
- Wind & hail damage
- Damage due to the weight of snow or sleet
- Accidental discharge from plumbing or air conditioning (which does not include flood damage)
- Smoke damage
- Volcanic eruption
- Vehicle damage (i.e. if someone hits your house with their car)
- Falling objects
- Sudden and accidental damage from electrical currents
What is an open perils policy?
On the other hand, an open perils policy can cover any disaster you can imagine except specific exclusions. So, anything that is listed on an open perils policy is not covered by your insurance, and you would have to pay for the damages in that instance.
So, what’s covered under my HO-3 policy?
The certain items and structures covered under your HO-3 policy will depend on your specific policy and what your carrier usually covers in their particular plans. Still, these are the general types of things that an HO-3 insurance policy will cover.
Your actual house
You have a homeowner’s policy for a reason – to protect your house! So, any type of home insurance is going to cover the actual structure of your home if it’s damaged by a covered peril. Most HO-3 policies will cover the replacement cost of your home instead of the market value, which is great. The replacement cost is how much it would cost to rebuild your home from the ground up if it were destroyed by something like a fire.
The replacement cost of your home might be about the same or more than the market value of your home, especially if you’ve done some renovations since you’ve bought your house. However, it’s important to look over your policy so you know which one you’re insured for.
An HO-3 will also usually come with personal property coverage to help with the cost of replacing your stuff. However, it’s important to make sure you have the type of coverage that fits your needs. You’ll also want to make sure that you take a home inventory of all your belongings to make the claims process and recovery of your items as easy as possible.
Most policies will insure your things for their actual cash value (ACV) instead of the replacement cost value (RCV). Actual cost value accounts for depreciation of your items over time. So, if you have an oven that you paid $900 for 5 years ago, ACV coverage may only reimburse you for a depreciated value of $600. If you want to make sure that your insurance can help reimburse you for the RCV of an item, make sure you talk to your agent about the type of personal property coverage that comes with your HO-3.
If you have a lot of expensive jewelry, artwork, or special collections, you may also want to purchase a rider to your policy that will specifically cover these items.
An HO-3 insurance policy will also cover a certain amount ofliability that you have as a homeowner if someone is injured on your property. The liability portion of your home insurance can help you cover the cost of the injured person’s medical bills and the cost of any legal fees should that person decide to sue you.
It’s important to note, though, that the incident that resulted in injury or property damage has to be your fault due to negligence or your actions. If someone was just a little careless or clumsy, that’s a job for their medical insurance.
The other structures to your home are also normally covered by an HO-3 insurance policy. Depending on your carrier and specific plan, this can mean that spaces such as pools, guest houses, sheds, detached garages, fences, and more are covered under your home insurance.
Expenses if you can’t live in your home while it’s being repaired
HO-3 policies can have clauses for loss of use expenses, or additional living expenses, if you’re not able to live in your house due to a covered loss. If you have to stay in another house, an AirBnb, or an extended stay hotel while your home is being repaired, housing and food bills can start to pile up. So, with the right home insurance policy, your carrier can help reimburse you for the additional costs you’ve gathered by not being able to use your home.
It’s vital to understand, though, that your insurance will only help you pay for additional costs of living while you’re away. For example, if you spend $250 in groceries for a typical week, and you have to spend $300 per week on fast food or restaurants while your house is uninhabitable. Your insurance can only reimburse you for the additional $50, not the full $300. This is why it’s also important to keep track of any receipts or bills you have while you’re away. Then, you can show your insurance company exactly how living away from your home has affected your everyday costs and get reimbursed for the proper amounts.
So, this is the general rundown of how an HO-3 policy works. Keep in mind that the HO-3 policy is just the most common home insurance policy in the U.S. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best plan for you. There are also HO-5, HO-6, and a bunch of other types of homeowners policies that offer more or less coverage than an HO-3. That’s why it’s important to shop around for coverage and ask your agent what type of insurance will be best for you.
Our insurance agents are experts at identifying your specific risks to find the home insurance coverage you need at the lowest prices. Call us today or fill out our online form to start getting multiple, free quotes on the proper insurance for your home.