Just like there are different types of homes, such as a single-family, townhome or apartment, there are also different types of homeowners insurance policies. These homeowners forms, as they are sometimes called, provide different types and levels of protection for homeowners and renters. The most robust homeowners insurance policy, the HO-5 policy, provides home and personal property insurance for the most perils of all policy forms. Those looking for the broadest range of coverage for their home may want to consider the HO-5 homeowners insurance policy.


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What is an HO-5 insurance policy?

An HO-5 policy is a homeowners insurance policy type that covers your home and personal belongings under open perils coverage, except for certain exclusions. This differs slightly from a standard HO-3 homeowners policy, which covers your home as open perils but your personal possessions only for named perils.

An open peril policy, like an HO-5 insurance policy, will list out exclusions. That means your policy covers any scenario that is not specifically excluded. This means that HO-5 policies will cover you for more types of damage than other types of homeowners insurance.

What does an HO-5 policy cover?

Home insurance policies can often be customized to fit your needs, so your exact coverage will depend on your specific policy. However, there are several components of a standard HO-5 policy, including:

  • Dwelling coverage: The structure of your home is covered on an open perils basis. This means that you are covered for any loss that is not specifically listed as an exclusion.
  • Personal property: Your belongings are also covered on an open peril basis, so anything not excluded is covered.
  • Liability: Another standard feature of an HO-5 policy is liability coverage. This protects you in case someone is injured while at your home or you are found liable for damaging someone’s property. It can also cover legal fees and settlement costs if someone tries to sue you.
  • Medical Payments: Another type of medical coverage to help cover medical expenses if a guest is injured on your property, but you are not legally liable for their injuries.

HO-5 also covers loss of use, meaning you’ll be reimbursed for additional living expenses, like hotel and meal costs, if your home is damaged from a covered claim and you can’t live there during repairs. This provision is included in most standard homeowners insurance policies. You might also have the option to tailor your policy to your needs by adding endorsements like water backup, identity theft or scheduled personal property.

HO-5 policy endorsements

There are also ways to customize your HO-5 home insurance policy to further meet your needs with optional coverage, or homeowners insurance endorsements. Some endorsements you may be able to include are:

While flood insurance is usually a separate policy from the home insurance, earthquake coverage may be available as either an endorsement or a standalone policy, depending on your state.

You might also have the option to tailor your policy to your needs by adding endorsements like water backup, identity theft or scheduled personal property.

HO-5 policy exclusions

Checking your policy for a comprehensive list of HO-5 exclusions is a good idea; every company is different and exclusions could vary. However, the following homeowners insurance exclusions are fairly standard across HO-5 policies:

  • Earth movement
  • Power failure
  • Nuclear hazard
  • Collapse
  • Settling or expanding
  • Mold, fungus or rot
  • Smog or corrosion
  • Ordinance or law
  • Neglect
  • Intentional loss
  • Theft from a building under construction
  • Birds or vermin
  • Typical wear and tear
  • Smoke from agricultural or industrial site
  • Water damage from sewer backups, floods or seepage
  • War
  • Government action
  • Vandalism of vacant properties
  • Mechanical breakdown
  • Pollutant discharge
  • Owned animals

That might seem like a long list of exclusions. But remember that damage caused to your home or personal belongings is covered unless specifically excluded by your property insurer.

Who needs HO-5 coverage?

You don’t have to own a high-value home to want HO-5 coverage. Because HO-5 policies offer open perils coverage on both the dwelling and your personal property, your finances will be better protected against a wider range of scenarios. Homeowners can opt for this robust insurance as a financial safety net against potential damages. With an HO-5 policy, your house and your possessions get an extra level of financial protection thanks to open perils coverage.

What is the difference between HO-3 and HO-5 policies?

HO-3 policies are the most common type of homeowners insurance. Both HO-3 and HO-5 policies cover your dwelling — the structure of your home — on an open perils basis.

The difference is in how each policy form covers your personal property. With an HO-5 policy, you get open perils coverage for your belongings, but with an HO-3, your items are covered on a named perils basis. This means that your personal property is only covered for the perils specifically listed in the policy, and anything else is considered excluded.

Frequently asked questions

    • Whether an HO-3 or HO5 is better depends on your wants and needs for your homeowners insurance policy. For instance, an HO-5 has broader coverage, especially for personal property, but may be more expensive than an HO-3 policy. But if you do not need open perils coverage on personal property, you may be able to save on your annual premium with an HO-3 policy form.
    • The policy cost of an HO-5 is usually more expensive than an HO-3 policy, as it provides more protection for a wider range of perils. The cost depends on several factors, including your coverage types and limits, the age of the home, the square footage and the condition of the home. For an HO-3 policy, the average cost of home insurance for $250,000 in dwelling coverage is $1,383 per year. You can generally expect to pay more than the average for a similar HO-5 policy.
    • You can buy HO-5 insurance from many homeowners insurance companies across the country. Most carriers offer both the HO-3 and HO-5 policies, so you can get a quote to compare both policies if you are unsure which you want. Online quote forms may have an option to select the policy type you want, and if they don’t, you might want to call the carrier for clarification.

      Learn more: Affordable home insurance companies

    • All-risk insurance is a type of policy that provides coverage for all risks, or perils, except for those expressly excluded from coverage. An all-risk insurance policy is the same as an open perils insurance policy. If you are unsure if you have all-risk insurance or a named perils policy, it may be helpful to read your homeowners insurance policy or reach out to your insurance agent or company to learn more.