Home Insurance Overview

While most commonly referred to as home or homeowners insurance, the insurance that protects your private residence and your personal belongings is sometimes called hazard insurance or storm damage insurance. All of the aforementioned terms are used interchangeably in this guide.

This article offers residential property owners an introduction to the types of insurance that protect your private residence and personal property from storm damage.

Click one of these links to view information specifically for renters insurance or condo insurance.

What Does Homeowners Insurance Mean?

Homewoners insurance is referred to as multiple-line insurance in that it covers both property and liability.

Liability coverage offers protection from lawsuits from visitors that are injured on your property. While the liability portion of your policy is an important aspect of homeowners insurance, this article focuses on the property coverage as it relates to helping you repair your home and replace your personal items after a severe storm.

The property coverage included in your Homewoners insurance protects you from damage to your home, your personal property contained within your home, loss of the use of your home after a storm (living expenses), as well as other structures on your land and additional personal possessions.

For more details, read What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover? or review common insurance terms and definitions.

Common Types of Home Insurance Policies

The Insurance Services Office (ISO) is a private company founded in 1971. Among other services, the ISO has created standard insurance policy forms that are used by most insurance companies. The following is a list of seven common policy forms in use today.

HO1 – Basic Form Homeowner Policy
A basic form that protects your home against 11 listed perils. View details

HO2 – Broad Form Homeowner Policy
An advanced policy that provides coverage against 17 listed perils (including all 11 on the HO1) View details

HO3 – Special Form Homeowner Policy
HO3 is the most typical and most comprehensive type of home insurance used for single-family homes. View details

HO4 – Renter's Insurance
The H04 "Tenants" form is used by renters of homes, apartments, condos, and townhomes. View details

HO5 - Premier Homeowner Policy
Covers the same perils as HO3 plus additional coverage and increased payouts. View details

HO6 – Condominium Policy
H06 is the policy form for condominium owners. View details

HO8 – Older Houses
This “Modified Coverage" form is typically used for owner-occupied older homes with replacement costs that would exceed the property's market value. View details

Protect Yourself from These Common Coverage Exclusions

While most home insurance policies cover a wide variety of potential hazards and damage, almost all of them have gaps in coverage leaving you at risk for total loss.

By reviewing the list below you will become familiar with types of coverage excluded from most home insurance policies. Once you have a basic understanding of what is not included, you can have an intelligent conversation with your insurance broker about purchasing additional coverage for your specific situation.

  1. Water damage from floods, sewer back-ups, or water that seeps through the foundation. Read more about obtaining flood insurance and protecting yourself from the most common form of storm related damage.
  2. Earthquakes or land movement from shockwaves, sinkholes, landslides and mudflows
  3. Ordinance or law, such as demolition or construction required to bring your house up to code
  4. Power failure
  5. Neglect or failure to take reasonable measures to mitigate damage after a storm
  6. War, including undeclared war and civil war
  7. Nuclear explosions
  8. Any intentional act by you with the purpose of causing damage or loss
  9. Governmental action, such as the destruction, confiscation or seizure of covered property by any governmental or public authority
  10. Damage to or loss of property from faulty zoning, poor repair or workmanship, faulty construction materials, or inadequate maintenance

For more details, read What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover? or review common insurance terms and definitions.

Storm Damage?

Get a free damage inspection from one of our certified contractors.


If you are a reputable contractor, learn more about certification.

The National Storm Damage Center provides everything you need to prepare for and recover from severe storm damage.