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An HO3 home insurance policy provides homeowners with extensive coverage for both their home and their possessions. But how do HO3 policies differ from other home insurance options, and what types of coverage should you expect on your policy? Read on to learn everything a new homeowner needs to know before purchasing an HO3 home insurance policy.
- An HO3 home insurance policy compensates you for damage to the structure of your home, other structures on your property, and personal property.
- It also helps cover some common legal liabilities you may face as a landlord.
- HO3 policies must specifically mention all risks that are not covered by the policy in the terms of its contract.
- HO3 policies include coverage for the housing replacement cost of your home and sometimes your personal property.
- An HO3 policy is the most common insurance policy purchased by homeowners.
What is an HO3 policy form?
An HO3 policy is a type of home insurance policy that helps pay for the costs of repairing your home’s structure and other structures found on your property that are not attached to your home. HO3 policies also include coverage for your personal property as well as legal representation if someone is injured on your property or sues you for damage to their property.
Although HO3 insurance is not required in the same way car insurance is required to drive legally on the road, most mortgage lenders will require you to maintain some level of this coverage for the life of your loan to protect you against the financial losses caused. by natural disasters or theft. To qualify for an HO3 policy, the property owner must live in the insured dwelling.
When are HO3 policies typically used?
HO3 policies are the most commonly sold type of home insurance in the market, especially for single-family residences. Most homeowners choose an HO3 policy over other more limited types of coverage because these policies provide coverage for personal property and liability damage in addition to the physical structure of your home.
What do HO3 policies cover?
Most HO3 policies include 5 unique coverages.
- Housing coverage: Your housing coverage compensates you for physical damage to the structure of your home and its major systems. Most HO3 policies insure your home up to the amount it would cost to completely replace the home.
- Coverage for other structures: This part of your HO3 policy covers other structures that are not attached to your dwelling but are still on your property. Some examples of structures that would be covered by this protection could include a tool shed, a fence, or a detached garage. Most HO3 policies include coverage for other structures equal to about 10% of your total home insurance coverage.
- Personal property insurance: Personal property insurance compensates you for damage to your personal property caused by a covered peril. For example, if your house catches fire and your living room furniture is destroyed, your property coverage will help pay for the cost of purchasing new furniture.
Most HO3 policies include coverage equal to 50% of the value of your home’s coverage for personal property. However, most home insurance policies also include limitations on the total amount of this limit you can use to replace a single item. For example, you might have an HO3 insurance policy with $50,000 coverage for personal property, but also a disclaimer that says you can’t use more than $1,000 to replace stolen or damaged jewelry.
- Liability coverage: Liability coverage helps you pay for legal costs if you damage someone’s property or someone gets hurt on your property and sues you for replacement costs or medical bills. Liability coverage compensates you for both your legal defense and any court-ordered costs you must pay. Liability limits usually start at $100,000, but you may want to increase this coverage with your insurance provider.
- Loss of use coverage: Loss of use coverage (sometimes called “additional living expenses” coverage) helps you pay for the day-to-day expenses you incur if your home is deemed habitable and needs to be rebuilt. For example, your loss of use coverage will cover restaurant meals and hotel costs you incur while rebuilding your home.
These are just the most common examples of coverage limits you’ll find on most HO3 insurance policies. Be sure to read the terms of your unique policy before purchasing coverage so you know exactly what percentage of your home’s value is covered by each part of your policy.
What risks are covered by an HO3 policy?
In insurance, a “covered peril” is an event that causes damage to your home that qualifies you to file an insurance claim with your policy provider. If the damage to your property was not caused by a covered peril, your insurance is not responsible for the damage caused. The specific risks covered by each type of policy will vary by insurance provider and type of policy.
HO3 policies are sometimes referred to as “open risk” policies because they give you coverage for a wider range of risks compared to other more limited home insurance policies (like HO1 and HO2 policies). Under an HO3 policy, your home is protected against damage from all perils unless they are specifically listed as exclusions under the policy. Some of the more common perils you will see covered by your HO3 policy include:
- fire damage
- Wind and hail damage
- Frost and snow
- Theft of personal property
Risks not covered by an HO3 policy must be explicitly specified in your contract. Some of the more common excluded risks you will see when signing a policy include:
- Government seizure of your property
- The damage you intentionally cause to your home or personal property
- Damage resulting from negligence on the part of the owner
- Floods (if you live in a high-risk flood zone, you may need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy)
Keep in mind that you are only covered for damage up to the limits specified on your policy, even if the damage was caused by a covered peril. It is therefore particularly important to know the terms of your policy and the amount of money you would need to fully rebuild after a major natural disaster before taking out cover.
Replacement cost coverage and HO3 policies
One of the main advantages that an HO3 policy offers over other types of home insurance is that this type of insurance includes coverage for the replacement cost of your home. This means that instead of paying the actual depreciated value of your property after a total loss, your home insurance will fully cover the cost of building a new property with similar amenities to your old home. Some HO3 policies also include personal effects replacement cost coverage, while others require you to add it as a separate coverage.
How to Compare and Get an HO3 Insurance Policy
There are dozens of home insurance providers nationwide, and since HO3 policies are the most common type of coverage for traditional homes, you’ll have several policies to choose from. Here are some factors you may want to consider when shopping for insurance and comparing quotes.
- Premiums: Your premium is the amount of money you must pay each month to maintain your insurance coverage. Be sure to choose a policy with a premium that you know you can afford. You can often lower your premium by taking a higher deductible, but this will increase what you’ll have to pay if you have to file an insurance claim.
- Replacement Cost vs Actual Value of Personal Property: Although HO3 policies default to the replacement cost value of your home, this is not the case for personal property. If you own several high-value items that depreciate faster than others (like electronics), you may want to explore insurance providers that offer replacement cost coverage for personal property.
- Specific Coverage Limits: Your homeowner’s insurance policy may include limitations on the total amount they will pay for the loss of high-value items. If you have something exceptionally valuable that you want to protect (like an engagement ring or a musical instrument), look for a home insurance policy with extensive endorsement options.
You can usually find HO3 coverage from any major local insurance provider. If you already have another type of insurance coverage (such as car insurance or business insurance), you can consult your current insurer to find out about HO3 bundling options, which can save you money on both policies.
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Finding Affordable HO3 Coverage
Each homeowner’s insurance company uses its unique formula to calculate premium rates. The best way to save money on your home insurance is to get a free and fast quote from several competing insurers before purchasing a policy. Start your insurance search by staying organized and using the links above to compare all your options.