Home Owner Insurance

This essential home owners insurance coverage, which protects your dwelling and possessions against a wide variety of perils, offers a number of options. You'll need to determine the full value of your property, buy the right type of coverage, and have the proper levels of protection within that policy.

You might need supplemental coverage for such “high-ticket” items as jewelry or computers, or for protection against natural disasters, that the basic policy might not cover.

The seven basic types of Home owners insurance coverage apply in all states except Texas:

HO-1: Basic Home owners Insurance. Covers your dwelling and personal property against losses from 11 types of perils, including fire or lightning, theft, windstorm or hail, and vandalism or malicious mischief.

HO-2: Basic Homeowners Insurance Plus. Protects against losses against the 11 basic perils in HO-1, plus six more: Falling objects, weight of ice, snow or sleet, three categories of water-related damage from utilities or appliances, and electrical surge damage.

HO-3: Extended or Special Homeowners Insurance. Extended or Special Homeowners. Covers the 17 stated perils of the HO-2, plus any other peril not specified in the policy, except for Flood, Earthquake, War, and Nuclear Accident. This description applies only to the dwelling. Personal property is covered only for the named perils, though special coverage on contents is normally available by endorsement. Some companies might offer a policy for "high value" homes that includes special form coverage on contents.

HO-4: Renters Insurance. Covers personal property only from the 17 HO-2 perils.

HO-5: All Risk. Covers building and personal property. This is rarely sold.

HO-6: Condominium Owners Insurance coverage. Covers personal property, together with building items in which the condo owner might have an insurance interest, from the 17 HO-2 perils.

HO-8: Basic Older-Home Coverage. Covers repairs or actual cash values, not rebuilding costs, to the dwelling and personal property from the 11 HO-1 perils. Designed for homes whose history or architecture make replacement cost significantly higher than market value.

Most homeowners buy HO-2 or HO-3 insurance policies.

There are variations on these policies. For example, landlords can buy coverage that insures a building only and not personal property (which would be covered by a Renters policy). You can get special Mobile Home Insurance policies to cover manufactured houses.
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Household Tips

Keying into Safety: What You Should Know About Your Key Ring

Most of us carry keys with us wherever we go. We take our keys for granted, usually until we lose them. But it's important to remember a few “key” safety tips:
  • Don't put ID labels on your keys. If you lose them, a potential burglar will not only know where you live, but have the keys to your castle.
  • Don't leave spare keys under the doormat, above the door, or in the mailbox. These are the first places a burglar will look. Leave your extra set with a trusted friend or neighbor.
  • Get a removable clip for separating your car keys from your house keys. If you have to leave your car for servicing, or with a parking attendant, remember to detach your personal keys.


Comfort Institute
Home Ideas
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Dept of Housing and Urban Development


Q: How can I discourage rodents and wild animals from entering my house?
The closer that wild animals live to your house, the more likely they are to find a way inside. Here are some tips to keep in mind: Eliminate any possible nesting sites and items that provide a water source. Seal entrances on the inside and the outside of your home because a mouse can squeeze through an opening as small as a dime. One pair of mice can produce generations of offspring amounting to 15,000 rodents a year. You can keep rodent populations low by continually setting traps inside and outside your home. Natural predators – such as hawks and owls – help control rodent populations in the wild.

Q: What is the difference between cleaning and disinfecting?
Cleaning and disinfecting are not the same thing. In most cases, cleaning with soap and water is adequate to remove dirt and most of the germs. However, in other situations disinfecting provides an extra margin of safety.

Q: Why is it important to wash our hands often, even at home?
You can't see germs with the naked eye or smell them, so you do not really know where they are hiding. That's why it's critical you wash your hands:
  • Before, during, and after you prepare food.
  • Before you eat, and after you use the bathroom.
  • After handling animals or animal waste.
  • When your hands are visibly dirty.
  • When someone in your home is sick.