One of the most common questions an insurance professional gets is the hypothetical, “Would this be covered?” Typically, the answer we give is:
But that’s not a cop out. It’s the truth, because whether or not something is covered depends on the kind of coverage you bought and the specific circumstances of your claim. Maybe you wake up one morning and head down to your basement to throw in a load of laundry only to be greeted by knee-deep water. While your mind races trying to figure out what to do, one of your very first questions is probably going to be, “Will my homeowners insurance cover this?”
Did a pipe burst and pour water into the basement overnight? Did it seep in through the foundation’s walls? Did your sump pump fail? And further, what kind of homeowners policy do you actually have?
Yes, it’s possible to buy different types of policies that cover different types of things. Contrary to what some commercials may lead you to believe, not all policies are the same. Homeowners insurance can be purchased in a variety of different forms, and each one covers your house in very different ways. People who rent need a Form 4, condo owners need a Form 6, and regular home owners could buy a Form 1, 2 or 3.
HO-1 (Basic Form): You don’t see much of these anymore because the coverage is so, well, basic. These policies only cover your home for some very specific things, like fire, wind, lightning or hail. If it’s not one of those things, it’s not covered.
H0-2 (Broad Form): The Broad Form policy is like the Basic Form in that if it’s not stated specifically, there is no coverage for it. What makes this one so important, though, is that it adds some very vital coverages like falling objects, weight of ice or snow and certain types of water damage. You may recognize some of these as things you absolutely want covered as a home owner in Michigan.
HO-3 (Special Form): This one’s great because, in a nutshell, instead of only covering very specific things it covers everything that isn’t specifically excluded. Granted, there are some things excluded that you’d probably like covered (flood is the big one), but this one offers the best protection.
Oh, and that’s just for the structure. Coverage for your contents could very well be covered for different things in different ways. It all depends on the policy you bought.
Sound complicated? It is. That’s why it’s important to understand what you have and to partner with an agent who can explain it to you. Professional advice makes all the difference in the world at claim time.