The HO4 home insurance policy is sometimes called a Tenant’s Form or Renters Insurance. You may see it spelled different ways like HO 4, HO-4, or H04. Don’t let that confuse you. No matter how the HO4 renters insurance is spelled, it’s still going to do the same thing by insuring a renter’s personal belongings and personal liability.
Keep in mind, an HO4 policy won’t cover any of the rental building’s structures which are things like the interior walls, plumbing, or heating system. Landlords have to buy their own separate insurance policies to take care of their building’s structures. This type of policy is easy to remember because it’s called Landlord insurance.
HO4 Renters Insurance: The Covered Risks
An HO4 insurance policy has a list of risks it will cover and a few it won’t. Since you know what dangers trigger your HO4 coverage, this insurance plan is considered a “named perils” policy.
Below is a list of the typical events that cause renters, like yourself, to file a claim under their HO4 coverage.
- Fire and lightning
- Hail and wind
- Malicious mischief and vandalism
- Volcanic eruptions
- Falling objects
- Freezing of household systems
- Weight of sleet, snow, and ice
- Accidental flooding from stream or water
- Sudden and accidental tearing apart, burning, cracking or bulging of household systems
- Sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current.
- Riots and civil commotion
On a side note, these same 16 disasters are also covered under an HO2 homeowners insurance policy. The same goes for the excluded risks that aren’t covered.
Here are a few common perils (or dangers) that an HO4 policy will not cover:
- Earthquake: Any damage due to an earthquake will not be covered.
- Flood: Flood or water damage is not covered, but you can talk with an independent insurance agent about buying add-on protections for this risk.
Any losses you experience that aren’t covered under the HO4 renters policy will be your responsibility to replace or repair.
Turn Your Rental Upside Down
Most experienced independent insurance agents will tell you HO2 insurance plans cover your personal property. They may ask you to give them an estimate for the total value you would give for all your personal belongings. Guessing that dollar amount can be tough.
Think of it this way. Imagine you could turn your rental upside down, and all of its contents fell loose. All of those freefalling possessions are what you want the HO4 policy to protect. That might mean protecting your furniture, electronics, clothing, pots and pans, etc. The piles of “stuff” you own is what you’ll need to give a dollar value to. Lots of renters, like yourself, may pick $25,000 or $50,000 as the coverage amount.
Seven Surprising Benefits of HO4 Renters Insurance
Many renters figure their stuff isn’t worth all that much and so there’s no reason to get coverage. What they’re not considering is that coming up with cash to replace all your clothes, furniture, and electronics at the same time can be costly. Typically, the premium for an HO4 renters insurance is peanuts compared to the benefits.
Plus HO4 renters policies go above and beyond what you might expect. Here are seven surprising HO4 perks you’re going to love:
Protection even when you’re away from home
HO4 coverage insures your things even when you’re away from home. All the same risks, like theft, are taken care of under your HO4 renters policy. That means you’re still covered even if someone steals your laptop from your car or your favorite leather jacket from a hotel room. Keep in mind, “off premises” coverage is generally capped at a portion of your benefit limit for personal belongings, like maybe 10%.
Medical bills for injured visitors
If the cable guy or grandma gets hurt visiting your rental house, your HO4 insurance will pay their medical bills all the way to the policy’s benefit limit. Most HO4 home insurance plans have a $1,000 to $5,000 worth of medical coverage.
When your dog bites
If your dog bites another dog or a person, either at your rental home or while away from home, your renters insurance will provide coverage. Be sure to check your particular policy documents or talk with your independent insurance agent to verify. Once in a while insurers will exclude or limit dogs from this policy benefit.
Hotel costs after a disaster
No need to worry about where you’ll sleep while your rental home is being repaired after a disaster like a fire or explosion. Often renters insurance has an “additional living expenses” benefit. This feature will help you out if your place becomes unlivable because of a covered risk listed on your HO4 policy.
Things you borrowed or rented
Basically HO4 home insurance covers stuff that’s “in your possession” which means any property you’ve rented or borrowed.
Destruction your kids cause
Your HO4 plan’s liability insurance will cover property damage and injuries caused by you and your loved ones living in the rental apartment/house. Let’s say your child breaks a neighbor’s window with a baseball, your HO4 home insurance can play to replace the broken window.
If a visitor to your rental property gets hurt on the premises or you accidentally cause an injury to another person, you could find yourself being served with a lawsuit. The liability coverage on your HO4 policy will take care of your legal defense costs and any judgement amounts you are ordered to pay. Of course, the coverage will have a policy limit which may be as high as $100,000.
HO4 Makes a Lot of Sense
Independent insurance agents can help you decide on the best HO4 policy for your needs and budget. Overall, a renters policy is very inexpensive and simple to set up. Of course, you’ll need to decide how high your benefit limits should be to replace all of your personal possessions. You’ll also need to work with your independent agent to pick a liability limit that’s high enough to protect yourself. Your agent may even be able to bundle your renters and car insurance together from the same carrier so you can get a discount. In the end, an HO4 renters policy will give you peace of mind at a low price.