What Are the Types of Perils Covered by Home Insurance?

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A home insurance peril is an event that causes damage or losses to your property, such as a fire or home break-in. Standard homeowners insurance policies will cover losses caused by the following 16 perils:

Fire or lightning Theft
Windstorm or hail Volcanic eruptions
Explosion Falling objects
Riot or civil commotion Weight of ice, sleet or snow
Damage by aircraft Water/steam discharge from home systems and appliances
Damage by vehicle Sudden/accidental tearing, cracking, burning or bulging of home systems
Smoke Freezing of home systems
Vandalism or malicious mischief Sudden/accidental power surges

Read below for more information on what types of perils are commonly covered and excluded in a standard home insurance policy.

Key Takeaways

  • Insurance perils are events that can damage your home and personal belongings.
  • Fires, windstorms, vandalism and theft are typically covered, while earthquakes and floods are excluded from coverage.
  • Your property is insured on an open perils or named perils basis.
  • Open perils coverage offers wider protection than named perils coverage.
  • HO-5 policies provide the most comprehensive protection against insurance perils.

Covered Perils

Covered perils are destructive events that your insurance company can reimburse you for if they damage or destroy your home or belongings. While insurance won’t always account for every situation that could potentially damage your home, standard homeowners insurance will cover these 16 perils:



Fire or lightning

Kitchen fire spreads throughout your home

Windstorm or hail

Hail blows against your home and breaks a window


Gas stove explodes and triggers a fire

Riot or civil commotion

Rioters vandalize your front yard

Damage by vehicle

Driver accidentally drives through your backyard fence and into your kitchen

Damage by aircraft

Helicopter crashes and destroys a building on your property


Smoke gets into your vents and causes the metal to erode

Vandalism or malicious mischief

Teenagers egg your house and ruin a large part of the siding


Intruder breaks your door down and then steals your laptop

Volcanic eruptions

Lava flow burns part of your home

Falling objects

Meteor lands in your yard and damages your nearby fence

Weight of ice, sleet or snow

Snow builds up on your roof and causes it to cave in

Water/steam discharge from home systems and appliances

Pipes suddenly burst and flood your basement

Sudden/accidental tearing, cracking, burning or bulging of home systems

Heat from your HVAC system burns a nearby wall

Freezing of home systems

Standing water in your pipes freezes then leaks once the pipes thaw

Sudden/accidental power surges

Power surge damages your electronics by overloading their circuit boards

One element that the above 16 perils share is that they are all sudden or accidental losses. The purpose of homeowners insurance is to provide financial protection against such losses. Therefore, losses that accrue slowly over time, like those resulting from normal wear and tear or lack of maintenance, are excluded from coverage.

What Types of Home Insurance Perils Are There?

Homeowners policies will insure your property on an open peril basis, named peril basis or a combination of both. The type of policy you purchase will determine the depth of your coverage, with some policies covering as few as 10 perils and others covering even more than the main 16 perils.

Open Perils Coverage

Open perils coverage, also called all-risks coverage, reimburses losses for any event unless the policy explicitly excludes it. Instead of naming every event that the insurance company will cover, an open perils policy lists every event the insurance company won’t cover.

Consider this example: if your insurance policy lists earthquakes and floods as the only excluded perils, then your home would be covered for fallen tree branches, fires, burst pipes and more. However, if the loss was specifically caused by an earth tremor, then your insurer will deny the claim and you will have to pay for your damages out of pocket.

Named Perils Coverage

A named perils policy only provides coverage for perils explicitly listed in the policy. If a certain loss is not directly mentioned in your policy, your insurance company will not cover it. If a named perils policy does not list falling objects as one of its covered perils, then an insurer will deny a claim for damages resulting from a tree branch damaging the homeowner’s roof.

You can check the declarations page of your policy for more information about what exactly your insurance company will cover.

A standard homeowners insurance policy insures your dwelling’s structure on an open peril basis and your personal belongings on a named peril basis.

A standard homeowners policy will insure your personal belongings on a named peril basis but homeowners have the option to upgrade to open peril coverage. This type of policy is called a comprehensive homeowners policy and will provide wider protection but will also cost more.

What Types of Home Insurance Cover Perils?

The three most common types of home insurance available are HO-2, HO-3 and HO-5 policies. HO-5 policies offer the most comprehensive coverage against perils, while HO-2 policies offer the most limited protection.

HO-3 policies are the most commonly purchased, followed by HO-5 insurance. HO-2 policies have largely been phased out and are rarely sold.

Policy Type

Dwelling Structure

Personal Property


16 named perils

16 named perils


Open peril

16 named perils


Open peril

Open peril


An HO-2 policy, also known as broad form coverage, provides dwelling coverage and personal property coverage for 16 perils on a named peril basis. HO-2 policies have largely been phased out and replaced by HO-3 policies.


HO-3 insurance, also known as special form coverage, provides the same level of coverage as an HO-2 policy except it insures the dwelling structure on an open peril basis. Accounting for almost 80% of the homeowners policies sold in 2020, HO-3 policies are the most commonly purchased insurance product.[1]

HO-3 insurance is typically referred to as “standard coverage” and will usually satisfy the insurance requirements set by mortgage lenders.


Also called comprehensive coverage, an HO-5 insurance policy insures both your dwelling structure and personal property on an open peril basis. It also comes with higher limits than other coverage types, making it beneficial if you have a high-value home or expensive luxury items you want to insure. Since it provides the most comprehensive coverage available to homeowners, HO-5 policies naturally come with high premiums.

What Perils Aren’t Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Most standard homeowners policies will include the below insurance exclusions. Generally, claims filed for losses resulting from these excluded perils will be denied and the homeowner will have to pay for repairs out of pocket.

  • Earthquakes, sinkholes, landslides, mudslides and other ground movement
  • Intentional loss
  • Lack of maintenance or neglect
  • Government confiscation or condemnation of property
  • Nuclear hazard
  • War
  • Floods from heavy rain, high tides, overflowing rivers or some other external water source (floods sourced from inside your home, such as burst pipes or leaking appliances, are usually covered)
  • Pests and infestations
  • Mold
  • Dog bites by certain breeds
  • Ordinance and failure to meet local building codes and standards
  • Losses incurred while operating a home-based business
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What Type of Coverage Do I Need for Excluded Perils?

To receive coverage for an excluded peril, you can purchase a separate insurance policy for that peril or purchase add-ons or endorsements to your existing homeowners policy. Your location may determine whether you need to purchase extra coverage for excluded perils. For example, if you live in a high-risk flood zone, you may need to buy flood insurance.

In some states, insurance companies are required to offer customers the option to buy extra coverage options for excluded perils. For example, insurers in California must offer earthquake insurance, while companies in Florida and Tennessee have to offer sinkhole coverage.[2][3]


What’s the difference between a peril, risk and hazard?

A peril is an event that causes damage to your property, risk is the probability that a peril will occur and a hazard is a factor that increases the risk of a peril occurring.

How many home insurance perils are there?

There are 16 perils that are covered by most named perils home insurance policies. However, there is no set limit to the number of perils that may be covered by an open perils policy.

Can I have named peril and open peril policies?

HO-3 policies, the most commonly purchased home insurance product, offer dwelling coverage on an open peril basis and personal property coverage on a named peril basis.


  1. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. “Dwelling Fire, Homeowners Owner-Occupied, and Homeowners Tenant and Condominium/Cooperative Unit Owner’s Insurance Report: Data for 2020.” Accessed Feb. 9, 2023.
  2. California Department of Insurance. “Earthquake Insurance.” Accessed Feb. 10, 2023.
  3. Insurance Information Institute. “Sinkholes and Insurance.” Accessed Feb. 10, 2023.

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