Common Policy Exclusions




Homeowners insurance policies not only state what perils are covered, they also can list which perils are excluded from coverage. Neither the named perils policy types (HO-1, HO-2, HO-4, HO-6, HO-8) nor the open perils policy form (HO-3) cover the following events:

  • Enforcement of building codes and similar laws
  • Earthquakes
  • Flooding
  • Power failures
  • Neglect (meaning your failure to take reasonable steps to protect your property)
  • War
  • Nuclear hazard
  • Intentional acts

Flood insurance and earthquake insurance are only available as separate policies.

Additional exculsions--open peril policies
In addition to the above-named exclusions, the following perils are excluded from coverage if you have an open perils (HO-3) policy:

  • Freezing pipes and systems in vacant dwellings
  • Damage to foundations or pavements from ice and water weight
  • Theft from a dwelling under construction
  • Vandalism to vacant dwellings
  • Latent defects, corrosion, industrial smoke, pollution
  • Settling, wear, and tear
  • Pets, other animals, and pests
  • Weather conditions that aggravate other excluded causes of loss
  • Government and association actions
  • Defective construction, design, and maintenance

While HO-3 does not cover you for the above exclusions, it does cover you for ensuing losses that result from excluded events (as long as the ensuing loss is not itself excluded from coverage). For example, if your fireplace is defective or was improperly installed so that smoke and flames are blown out into your living room, you're not covered for the replacement of the fireplace, but you are covered for the smoke and fire damage that your house had to endure the first time you used the fireplace.

While the list of exclusions is longer with open perils policies, you are usually covered for everything not specified on the list of exclusions. With a named perils policy, your coverage is only for the perils named within the policy. Remember also that under HO-3 policies, the open perils list applies to the dwelling and related structures. Your personal possessions are covered for the more restrictive broad named perils.

Apartment tenants
Tenants in rental buildings don't own the building or the unit in which they live, so the policy coverage and exclusions apply only to personal possessions.

Learn More...

Overview | Understanding The Basics | Types Of Insurance | Coverage Amounts
Choosing A Policy | Filing A Claim | Other Types Of Insurance | Home Safety Tips
Planning Concerns | Home Glossary

Please Note: The information contained in this Web site is provided solely as a source of general  information and resource.  It is a not a statement of contract and coverage may not apply in all areas or circumstances.  For a complete description of coverages, always read the insurance policy, including all endorsements.