An HO8 homeowners insurance policy is meant for older dwellings where the replacement costs are way higher than the market value. Normally your single-family or multi-family home will have to be over 40 years old. In fact, if your home is over 40 years old and/or is considered a historic residence, then your only choice is to get an HO8 policy.
Of course, there’s plenty more to learn about an HO8 older home policy. Independent insurance agents in your neighborhood will be glad to answer questions and give you more information. Or you can do a little homework now by reading through our HO8 notes below.
HO8 Older Home Insurance: What It’s All About
HO8 home insurance coverage is similar to the very basic HO1 home insurance. Older home insurance policies take care of ten named risks (perils). Claims reimbursements are based on the home’s actual cash value. This means if you file a claim then the insurer will pay you the replacement cost minus wear and tear (depreciation). With an HO8 policy, the insurer often rebuilds or repairs your home with different materials than the original but as close to a match as possible.
Let’s get more specifics of which homes HO8 will cover:
- Buildings that are over 40 years old
- Registered landmarks
- Architecturally significant homes
- Homes made of hard-to-replace materials
- Homes that don’t meet all of the cosmetic and structural requirements that are part of the popular HO3 home policies
Why an HO8 Instead of an HO3?
Most of your friends and neighbors probably have an HO3 home insurance policy for their single-family or multi-family homes. So why can’t you get the same thing?
There are a few reasons you may have to get an HO8 instead of an HO3 home policy.
First, many insurers need proof that your house is fully updated. So the insurance company will often ask for a Four Point Inspection before they’ll issue an HO3 policy. The Four Point Inspection has the following requirements:
- Electrical is updated (minimum of 100 amps service, no knob and tube wiring, no fuses, and no aluminium wiring
- Working central air conditioning or a/c window units
- Absolutely no portable heating or space heaters
- Good quality roof
- Updated and well-functioning plumbing system
Second, some insurance companies use credit scores as another way to determine eligibility for coverage and the premium amount. (Hint: the lower your credit score then the higher your premium may be.) So someone who has a poor credit score, a past DUI, a bankruptcy filing, or a lien or judgement against them in the last 60 months may find themselves unable to get the popular HO3 home policy.
If the only thing holding you back from buying an HO3 policy is cosmetic or structural issues, you’d have to update the plumbing, roofing, electrical, and HVAC to qualify. So if you’re not able to do that right now or just don’t want to make upgrades, talk with your independent insurance agent about getting an HO8 older home plan. If you also have any of the other circumstances mentioned above, then your independent insurance agent may recommend you get an HO8 older home policy.
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HO8 Older Home Insurance: What’s Covered
Usually an HO8 home policy will safeguard homeowners from the hazards listed in your policy documents, and nothing else. Below are the most common dangers your home will be insured against:
- Lightning and fire
- Hail and windstorms
- Vandalism and malicious mischief
- Theft (the liability limit is usually $1,000)
- Vehicles (unless caused by the homeowner)
- Volcanic eruption
- Riots and civil commotions
Maybe this list of covered dangers isn’t quite as long as an HO3 home policy but is still a worthwhile plan.
HO8 Older Home Insurance: What’s Not Covered
All insurance policies have some exclusions, or things the policy won’t take care of, and an HO8 older home plan is no different.
Here’s what’s not covered under most HO8 older home policies:
- Power surges
- Falling objects
- Water damage
The good news is the list of things that won’t be covered is pretty short. Plus there are a few options you have when it comes to the following three risks.
- Water Damage: It’s pretty standard for home policies not to cover water damage. Usually this means water damage caused by bursting or leaking pipes outside or inside the home, or overflow from appliances like toilets and washing machines. Yet many policies, including the HO8, can add water damage protection to the basic policy for an extra monthly premium.
- Falling Objects: Under an HO8 home policy, a tree crashing into your living room will not be covered because it’s a “falling object” and that’s not part of your HO8 plan. Now if you can prove the tree fell because of a covered risk (e.g. storm) then your insurance carrier will most likely reimburse your claim. If the tree actually fell because of old age or disease, then you’ll be out of luck.
- Earthquake: You’re not going to find any property insurance policies that will cover earthquake damage. What can you do? Buy a separate earthquake plan.
It’s always best to talk with an independent insurance agent about how to make your HO8 home insurance even stronger and more useful.
Take Care of Your Older Home with HO8
Independent insurance agents will likely tell you that an HO8 home policy is great for your vintage home. This type of plan is typically easy to understand and affordable. As you now know, it’s a special insurance coverage that will take care of your 40+ home, as well as homes that have other unique factors. The coverage you purchase can be enhanced by buying add-on policies for things like earthquakes and flooding. Give your independent insurance agent a call about an HO8 policy. After all, your agent knows many ways to show love to a senior home.