What does home insurance cover?

At a minimum, most policies cover your home, other structures on your property, and your personal possessions. 

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Homeowners insurance is one of the most important things homeowners need to purchase. Accidents can happen; extreme weather can pass through. Oftentimes, homeowners purchase a policy without really considering what’s covered or, more importantly, what isn’t covered.

For example, a study conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International showed that 56 percent of homeowners incorrectly believe that floods are covered by their standard homeowners insurance policy. It does not – only flood insurance can cover that.

Understanding what homeowners insurance covers is vital. You don't want to get stuck with a bill you thought your policy would handle. 

You can learn more about Kin's home insurance here. This guide will focus on how HO3 home insurance differs from other options you may see. 

HO3 vs. Other Policies: What’s the Difference?

HO-3 policies are the most common policy purchased by homeowners because they offer comprehensive coverage. They cover more than what’s included in more bare-bones policies, including HO-1 (Named Perils) and HO-2 (Broad Form) policies.

For instance, HO-1 policies only cover the following 10 perils for your home and possessions:

  1. Fire or lightning
  2. Hail or windstorms
  3. Explosions
  4. Riot or civil commotion
  5. Aircrafts
  6. Vehicles
  7. Smoke
  8. Malicious mischief or vandalism
  9. Theft
  10. Volcanic eruptions

An HO-8 policy covers these perils, too, with the addition of catastrophic ground cover collapse.

One step up from an HO-1 policy is the HO-2, or Broad Form, policy. These policies typically cover the above 10 perils along with:

  • Frozen pipes
  • Broken glass
  • Falling objects
  • Weight of ice, sleet, snow

Though more inclusive, HO-2 policies still won’t cover anything that isn’t explicitly listed in the policy.

HO-3 policies, on the other hand, covers almost all events, except for:

  • Earth movement
  • Governmental action
  • Inherent defects
  • Nuclear hazard
  • Ordinance of law
  • Power failure
  • War or military action
  • Water (i.e., flooding)
  • Vermin

The rest of this post will walk you through each type of coverage provided under an HO-3 policy, detailing what’s typically covered and not covered for homeowners.

What HO3 Policies Cover 

When we talk about a standard homeowners policy, we’re referring to what’s called an HO-3 or Special Form policy. Though most associated with just covering your physical home, policies also typically provide at least some coverage regarding other structures on your property, medical payments, and legal liability.

Specifically, HO-3 policies include following types of coverage:

Each of these coverages have their own list of things they will and won't cover. Let's take a look.

What Dwelling Insurance Covers and Excludes

Homeowners can file a claim under their dwelling insurance (Coverage A) when the home suffers from a natural peril, such as:

  • Aircraft or land vehicle impacts
  • Explosions
  • Falling objects
  • Fire or smoke damage
  • Hurricanes*
  • Hail
  • Lightning
  • Riots
  • Theft and vandalism
  • Water damage caused by burst pipes or overflowed household appliances
  • Weight of ice, snow, or sleet

* Note: In Florida, homeowners who file the claim during a hurricane event will have to pay their higher hurricane deductible. For more information, visit our page on home insurance in Florida.

This coverage doesn't apply when your home is damaged because of:

  • Earthquakes
  • General wear and tear 
  • Lack of regular and proper maintenance 

Policies vary from state to state and oftentimes won’t cover damage resulting from extreme weather. Florida residents, for example, need to purchase both flood and windstorm insurance. Texas residents need to purchase flood insurance and windstorm/hail insurance.

What Other Structures Insurance Covers and Excludes

Other structures insurance (Coverage B) covers damage to other structures not attached to your house, such as detached garages, fences, driveways, and more. It kicks in when these structures are damaged because of:

  • Aircraft or land vehicle impacts
  • Explosions
  • Falling objects
  • Fire or smoke damage
  • Hurricanes
  • Hail
  • Lightning
  • Riots
  • Theft and vandalism
  • Water damage caused by burst pipes or overflowed household appliances
  • Weight of ice, snow, or sleet

Other structures coverage excludes protection for: 

  • Structures used for business purposes
  • Damage caused by floods, earthquakes, negligence.

What Personal Property Insurance Covers and Excludes

Personal property insurance can help pay to repair or replace your belongings when they are damaged or lost because of fire, theft, windstorms, or water damage from appliances. This protection extends to your:

  • Clothing
  • Furniture
  • Electronics
  • Equipment
  • Jewelry

Personal property insurance won't cover your:

  • Aircraft and parts
  • Animals
  • Business data
  • Credit cards
  • Personal property of renters (tenants typically purchase renters insurance for coverage)
  • Personal property rented to others at the time of the event
  • Vehicles

What Loss of Use Insurance Covers and Excludes

Loss of use Insurance can cover living expenses when a covered claim makes your home uninhabitable, including the cost of:

  • Accommodations, such as an apartment or hotel
  • Grocery or restaurant bills spent in addition to your regular level of expenditure
  • Costs for relocation of personal belongings
  • Laundry expenses
  • Transportation costs
  • Parking fees
  • Pet boarding

While loss of use coverage is triggered by covered peril, it does not apply when access to your home has been denied because of a civil or government order (e.g. during a wildfire).

Loss of insurance also won't cover: 

  • Mortgage payments
  • Normal level of living expenses
  • Loss of rental income past the period needed to repair your home

What Personal Liability Insurance Covers and Excludes

When a third party is injured in your home or you damage their property, personal liability insurance can help cover your:

  • Legal expenses and repairs to the person’s property
  • Legal and medical expenses for the person's physical injury
  • Loss of wages if the person is unable to work because of the accident or injury

Personal liability coverage excludes damage to your own property, along with claims that arise from your business or profession.

What Medical Payments Insurance Covers and Excludes

Medical payment insurance is designed to help cover small medical claims when someone is injured on your property. It can cover necessary and reasonable medical expenses that aren’t covered by personal liability insurance, such as:

  • Medical or surgical treatment
  • X-rays
  • Dental
  • Ambulance
  • Hospital stays

Medical payments insurance won’t cover: 

  • Pain or suffering-related costs 
  • Property damage
  • Treatment for injuries to people who live in their home

Coverage Questions? Ask Us

While homeowners insurance does cover a large number of events and liabilities, there are many exclusions and caveats. Even the HO-3 policy doesn’t cover extreme weather events like flooding.

If you already have a homeowners insurance policy, review your policy annually to make sure you’re properly covered. If you have questions about what your policy will and won't cover, give us a call at (855) 717-0022. We're happy to help.

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