Do you have Special or Broad covered causes of loss for your Dwelling (Coverage A) on your PA homeowners insurance? What about on your Personal Property (Coverage C)?
What’s the difference? Why should I care?
Special Perils (also called comprehensive property coverage) commonly appears on most PA homeowners insurance for Coverage A – Dwellings (the structure of your home). The ISO HO – 3 provides this coverage and is the most common policy we write on owner occupied homes. The Special or Comprehensive perils insuring agreement states that the policy insures against “all direct physical loss” unless specifically excluded in the policy.
In other words, all possible causes of damage are insured against on the Comprehensive form, and the exclusions (which remove coverage) are listed explicitly. In order for the insurance company to deny a claim, the cause of the damage has to be specifically and explicitly excluded from the policy in writing.
The Broad Form is much narrower!
On the HO – 3, coverage C – Personal Property, or “all your stuff not nailed down,” is covered with the Broad form property coverage form. The Broad Form is a list of 16 causes of loss that PA Home Insurance will cover if they happen.
Here is the list, without detailed explanation, of what the Broad Form covers:
1 – Fire or Lightning
2 – Windstorm or Hail
3 – Explosion
4 – Riot or Civic Commotion
5 – Aircraft
6 – Vehicles
7 – Smoke
8 – Vandalism or Malicious Mischief
9 – Theft
10 – Falling Objects
11 – Weight of Ice, Snow or Sleet
12 – Accidental Discharge or Overflow of Water or Steam
13 – Sudden and Accidental Tearing Apart, Cracking, Burning or Bulging
14 – Freezing
15 – Sudden and Accidental Damage from Artificially Generated Electrical Current
16 – Volcanic Eruption
Additionally – all of the same exclusions apply to the Special form and the Broad form.
Broad or Special PA Homeowners Insurance – Which is better?
Think of it this way – the Comprehensive form on a PA homeowners insurance policy lists all the reasons that coverage could be denied in the form of exclusions. Coverage is assumed, unless specifically excluded in the policy language. If the insurance company wants to deny coverage, they must show the written exclusion that allows them to do it.
When a PA homeowners insurance policy covers Personal Property with the Broad Form, coverage only exists if one of the 16 covered perils occurs, and it’s not excluded elsewhere in the policy. Coverage is never assumed, and the burden to prove that a cause of loss is covered falls harder on the insured.
Why two different coverage forms on Coverage A and Coverage C?
The Comprehensive form evolved over time, even the Broad form provides more coverage than Basic form (which only covers 8 perils). As the coverage forms developed, coverage broadened first for the structure or Coverage A – dwelling part of the PA homeowners insurance policy. Personal Property coverage lags behind.
There is a solution – the HO – 5 coverage form provides Comprehensive perils coverage for both Coverage A – Dwelling and Coverage C – Personal Property. Not all PA Homeowners insurance companies will issue HO – 5 homeowners insurance for all applicants.
This is another reason why it’s important to have an Independent Agent to help you navigate the insurance marketplace, ensure all of your needs are met, and provide you with more than one or two PA insurance companies to choose from!