HO5 Insurance Policy

(HO5 coverage, from soup to nuts)

Written by Christina Palermo
Written by Christina Palermo

Christina is a freelance writer and licensed insurance agent. She has worked in many facets of the insurance industry, from entry-level assistant to account manager/sales rep to vice president of operations.

Reviewed by Christina Palermo
Reviewed by Christina Palermo

Christina is a freelance writer and licensed insurance agent. She has worked in many facets of the insurance industry, from entry-level assistant to account manager/sales rep to vice president of operations.

HO5 Comprehensive Form

Homeowners insurance policies written on HO5 forms are the most comprehensive coverage you can get. Unlike the more popular HO3 home insurance, the HO5 version is an “open perils policy.” That’s fancy insurance lingo which means you and your home are covered from everything, unless it’s a danger your policy clearly says it won’t cover.  

Not only is the HO5 an extensive plan with widespread coverage, but it’s also pretty straightforward at claims time. Who doesn’t like that? 

HO5 versus All the Other Forms

Independent insurance agents will tell you an HO1 form is the most basic home insurance. The HO3 is known as the most popular home coverage. The HO5 is a superstar plan that gives homeowners a robust policy with coverage from soup to nuts. 

Like an HO3 form, HO5 homeowners insurance includes both personal liability and medical payments coverage.

As you now know, HO5 home insurance is different than either the HO1 or HO3 since it lists all the dangers that aren’t covered. Any risks (or perils) outside of that will be covered. 

Usually HO5 homeowners insurance excludes losses from: 

  • Ordinances and laws
  • Earth movement and earthquakes
  • War
  • Nuclear hazard
  • Government action
  • Power failure
  • Water damage from water seepage, flood, and sewer backup
  • Mold, wet rot, and fungus
  • Collapse
  • Intentional loss
  • Theft to a dwelling under construction
  • Neglect, deterioration, and wear and tear
  • Mechanical breakdown
  • Vandalism and malicious mischief if property is vacant for over 60 days
  • Smog, corrosion, and rust
  • Smoke from agricultural smudging and industrial operations
  • Animals owned by you
  • Infestation of insects, birds, rodents, and vermin
  • Bulging, expanding, shrinking, and settling of your home’s foundation 
  • Seepage, dispersal, and discharge of pollutants

Any independent insurance agent will tell you the beauty of an HO5 home policy is that you don’t have to prove damage was caused by a covered event. 

For instance, if your home and property are damaged by a water leak in the roof, you don’t have to convince the insurer that your claim is based on a covered risk. Basically, unless your policy documents actually say a danger isn’t covered, then you’re good to go. No worries about fighting with the insurance company. 


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Let HO5 Take Care of Your Belongings

Not only will an HO5 comprehensive plan take care of your home, the coverage is also there to make sure your personal possessions are safe too. Your independent insurance agent will want you to figure out what your stuff is actually worth. That can be a bit hard to do but it’s important. 

Go around your home and write down everything you own. Be sure to jot down serial numbers for big ticket items like televisions, computers, and appliances. This is helpful in case you later have something stolen or damaged and need to make a claim. 

After your list is done, go online to find the replacement values for your things. This will give you a good idea of what all your belongings are worth. 

Not only is this a great way to be prepared in case you do have a future claim, but it’s also really useful when you’re trying to figure out if HO5 premiums are worthwhile. 

Three Tips for Buying HO5 Home Insurance

Be sure to chat with your independent insurance agent about any questions you may have. It’s never stupid to ask more questions. After all, homeowners insurance can be really confusing. 

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when buying HO5 home insurance coverage:

  • Are there hidden exemptions? 

Even if you have an HO5 policy, you could have a few exemptions. Insurance companies sometimes design their own policies a bit different than the norm. 

  • Is the policy Actual Cash Value or Replacement Cost? 

If your policy is replacement instead of actual cash value, then your claims payout will give you enough cash to buy the item new rather than what the item is worth at the time of loss. 

  • Can you afford an HO5 policy?  

The more coverage you get then the more you’ll pay. That makes sense, right?  Keep in mind, HO5 home insurance is an easy, breezy plan with a ton of solid protections. For many homeowners that fact makes an HO5 plan worthwhile. If you have fabulous credit, then your insurance agent could probably get you a bit of a price break. 

HO5 Is Big Time Protection 

Most homeowners are impressed with how much coverage an HO5 comprehensive form can give them. It’s really nice knowing the insurance carrier can’t wiggle out of reimbursing for certain events. However, you have to consider if your home and property are worth enough to pay the extra premium. Talk with your independent insurance agent about any questions you have. You want to be sure the extra cost for an HO5 comprehensive home policy is going to benefit you in the long run. 

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