What Types of Damage Does Homeowners’ Insurance Cover?


Bryan Huynh

- Updated February 22, 2024

Key Takeaways

Homeowners insurance covers damage from fire or storm, losses due to theft, and expenses related to homeowner liability. Other damage may or may not be covered depending on your policy.

What Types of Damage Does Homeowners’ Insurance Cover?

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), approximately one in 20 homes experiences an insurance loss each year. These losses are frequently attributed to wind, hail, or water damage. Notably, data spanning from 2016 to 2020 reveals that the average cost of weather-related claims amounts to around $11,600.

Home damage incidents occur more frequently than many people realize, and even minor issues can result in significant financial burdens if adequate insurance coverage is lacking.

When embarking on your insurance shopping journey, you'll encounter a vast array of policy options, and deciphering the differences between them can sometimes be perplexing.

To assist you in making an informed decision, let's explore the various types of homeowners insurance policies and delve into the specifics of each, helping you determine which one best suits your individual needs.

Types of Homeowners Insurance

All homeowners insurance policies protect against common disasters, but some do not cover specific types of damage. Based on your coverage, some insurers may only offer cash value for property, while others cover complete post-disaster renovations. Policies can also treat possessions inside your home in different ways depending on their value and whether they get specifically mentioned in the terms of your insurance agreement.

These nuances can be very confusing. Luckily, there are specific grades of homeowners insurance, each of which offers a particular type of coverage. You can look at the different categories to help you decide how much homeowners insurance you need.

Here is a look at the details of each of the eight homeowners insurance categories.


HO-1 Homeowners Insurance

HO-1 policies provide the most basic protections for your property. With this coverage, you will be able to repair your home if it is damaged by one of the events specifically listed by the insurer. You will get a payout for fire, storm damage, and theft. Less common occurrences, like a vehicle crashing into your home or a rioter breaking your windows, are also usually covered. HO-1 coverage does not protect possessions, and it won’t pay for accommodations while your home is getting repaired.

HO-2 Homeowners Insurance

HO-2 is known as “broad form” insurance because it covers more than the basics. In addition to all the HO-1 disasters, it pays for water damage, burst pipes, electrical malfunctions, and some kinds of foundation damage. The insurer lists all the perils covered on the policy.

HO-2 policies provide limited coverage for your belongings, and they offer some support for you to live elsewhere while your home is repaired. The amount you receive for property and temporary relocation is typically capped.

HO-3 Homeowners Insurance

HO-3 policies (also known as “special form” policies) are the most common type of coverage. The important difference in this category is that policies cover all types of damage except for events specifically listed as exclusions.

HO-3 insurance covers the full replacement cost for your property. This means they will pay all the expenses to return your home to its pre-damaged state and give you a place to stay during repairs, if necessary.

Your possessions will also be covered, but only for their cash value and only for perils specifically listed on the policy. Though this coverage is enough for most people, you may find it limited if you have high-value items in your home.

HO-4 Homeowners Insurance

An HO-4 policy is completely different from the first three categories. It is usually referred to as “renters insurance.” It covers the replacement cost of your possessions, and it can also provide a place to stay if your rented home is unlivable and needs repair. However, an HO-4 policy does not cover structures, so it only works if you rent.

The coverage for possessions extends to all the perils explicitly listed in the policy, which should include theft, fire, storms, and other common disasters.

HO-5 Homeowners Insurance

HO-5 policies offer comprehensive coverage for homeowners. For many insurance companies, this is the highest level of protection you can get for a single-family home. They cover both your home and possessions for all perils except those that are explicitly listed as exclusions. Unlike HO-3 policies, this coverage pays the full replacement cost for your belongings instead of giving you cash value.

HO-6 Homeowners Insurance

HO-6 policies are for people who live in a multi-unit structure, such as a condo. When you purchase a condo or space in a co-op, you typically pay homeowners association (HOA) fees, which cover the insurance premiums for the building itself. HO-6 policies protect everything not included in the HOA insurance.

In addition to personal property, liability, and temporary relocation costs, the HO-6 insurance may cover the interior of your condo, such as the walls, floor, and ceiling. This could be important for issues like mold, burst pipes, or storm damage that reaches the interior of your condo.

HO-7 Homeowners Insurance

HO-7 policies provide basic homeowners coverage, similar to an HO-3 policy. However, this insurance is only available for mobile homes. In addition to mobile homes and trailers, these policies often work for modular and park model homes.

HO-7 policies are only in effect when the home is stationary. The coverage is not active while it is on the road, even if you are only moving a short distance from one location to another.

HO-8 Homeowners Insurance

HO-8 policies are known as modified coverage forms. They are for properties that have a higher-than-normal risk of damage. They are also often the only option for homes that are older and more difficult to repair. For example, an insurer can use this policy type when replacement costs are much higher than the cash value of the home.

HO-8 options offer the same limited coverage as HO-1 policies. In other words, the insurer will pay the cash value of the damaged property, but they won’t be involved in making repairs. In this way, the insurer can limit their risk while still providing some coverage.


Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Tree Root Foundation Damage?

Homeowners insurance typically covers sudden disasters and unforeseen damage. Each policy will mention exclusions that are not covered, and neglect is often on the list. Foundation damage due to tree roots often falls into this category. However, if the same tree suddenly falls on your house as the result of a storm, it qualifies as a sudden event, and you will get compensation for the damage from the insurer.

Does Home Insurance Cover Fire Damage?

All homeowners insurance policies offer some degree of coverage for fire damage. The specific payouts can vary significantly depending on the terms of your policy. However, in the event of your dwelling being destroyed by fire, you will typically receive at least the cash value of your home. If you have an HO-2 or higher policy, you can also expect to receive cash value compensation for your personal belongings.

It's important to note that if you reside in an area prone to wildfires, there may be variations or exclusions in your policy. In such cases, it is crucial to verify the coverage related to wildfires when purchasing your insurance policy. By confirming the specifics of [wildfire-related coverage]((https://www.iii.org/article/insurance-for-wildfires#:~:text=The%20structure%20of%20your%20home,as%20a%20garage%20or%20toolshed.), you can ensure that you have adequate protection tailored to the risks associated with your location.

Does Home Insurance Cover Water Damage?

The majority of insurance policies provide coverage for water damage caused by sudden and unforeseen events, such as a burst pipe. Additionally, damages resulting from freezing, such as frozen pipes, may also be covered.

However, it's important to be aware of certain limitations when it comes to water damage coverage. For instance, most policies do not cover flooding, necessitating the purchase of additional coverage to ensure comprehensive protection against such disasters. Moreover, damages caused by external flooding due to neglect, such as a cracked foundation, are typically not covered. Similarly, water damage resulting from backed-up sewer pipes is typically excluded from coverage as well.

Does Home Insurance Cover Wind Damage?

All homeowners insurance policies generally provide coverage for wind damage; however, it is important to be aware of potential limitations. In certain areas, such as regions prone to hurricanes, these strong storms may be excluded from standard coverage. Therefore, additional hurricane insurance would be necessary to ensure adequate protection against wind damage caused by these specific weather events. Being mindful of the exclusions and potential risks in your area allows you to make informed decisions about obtaining the appropriate insurance coverage to safeguard your property from wind-related damages.

About The Author

Bryan Huynh

Bryan Huynh

Product Tester & Writer

Bryan Huynh is a dedicated Product Tester & Writer. Just as insurance has your back, Bryan works to review and inform you about the wide range of insurance products available, ranging from business, auto, health, home, pet, to life insurance.

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