Insurance Basics
April 8, 2024

What's the Difference Between HO and DP Insurance Policies?

Steadily's blog cover page for information around landlord insurance.

When it comes to insuring your home or rental property, understanding the different types of insurance policies available is crucial. Two common policy types you may encounter are HO (Homeowners) and DP (Dwelling Property) policies. While both provide coverage for residential properties, there are distinct differences between the two. In this article, we'll explore what HO and DP policies are, their similarities, and the key differences that set them apart.

What are HO Policies?

HO policies, short for Homeowners Insurance policies, are designed to provide comprehensive coverage for owner-occupied residential properties. These policies typically offer protection for the dwelling itself, personal property, liability, and additional living expenses in the event of a covered loss.

There are several types of HO policies, each catering to different property types and coverage needs:

  • HO-1 (Basic Form): This is the most basic and limited homeowners insurance policy, covering only specific named perils such as fire, lightning, and theft.
  • HO-2 (Broad Form): An HO-2 policy provides broader coverage than HO-1, protecting against additional perils like falling objects, water damage from plumbing issues, and electrical damage.
  • HO-3 (Special Form): The most popular and comprehensive homeowners insurance policy, HO-3 offers "all-risk" coverage for the dwelling and named perils coverage for personal property.
  • HO-4 (Renters Insurance): Designed for tenants, HO-4 policies cover personal belongings and provide liability protection for renters.
  • HO-5 (Comprehensive Form): Similar to HO-3 but with expanded coverage, HO-5 policies offer "all-risk" coverage for both the dwelling and personal property.
  • HO-6 (Condo Insurance): Tailored for condominium owners, HO-6 policies cover personal property, unit improvements, and liability within the condo unit.
  • HO-8 (Modified Coverage Form): Designed for older homes that don't meet the standards for other policy types, HO-8 policies provide more limited coverage.

What are DP Policies?

DP policies, or Dwelling Property policies, are insurance policies designed for residential properties that are not owner-occupied, such as rental properties or vacation homes. These policies focus primarily on providing coverage for the physical structure of the property.

There are three main types of DP policies:

  • DP-1 (Basic Form): A DP-1 policy offers the most basic coverage, protecting the dwelling against named perils such as fire, lightning, and explosions. It typically pays out actual cash value (ACV) for damages.
  • DP-2 (Broad Form): DP-2 policies provide more comprehensive coverage than DP-1, covering additional perils like burglary, freezing pipes, and falling objects. They often pay out replacement cost value (RCV) for damages.
  • DP-3 (Special Form): The most comprehensive DP policy, DP-3 offers "all-risk" coverage for the dwelling, protecting against all perils except those specifically excluded in the policy. It also typically includes liability coverage and pays out RCV for damages.

What Are The Similarities Between HO and DP Policies?

While HO and DP policies serve different purposes, they do share some similarities:

  1. Both types of policies provide coverage for residential properties, whether owner-occupied or rented out.
  2. HO and DP policies offer varying levels of coverage, from basic named perils to comprehensive "all-risk" coverage.
  3. Both policy types can include liability coverage to protect the policyholder against legal claims arising from injuries or property damage.
  4. HO and DP policies may offer additional coverages or endorsements to customize the policy to the policyholder's specific needs.

What Are The Differences Between HO and DP Policies?

Despite their similarities, there are several key differences between HO and DP policies:

  1. Property Type: HO policies are designed for owner-occupied properties, while DP policies are intended for non-owner-occupied properties, such as rental homes or vacation properties.
  2. Coverage Focus: HO policies provide comprehensive coverage, including the dwelling, personal property, liability, and additional living expenses. DP policies primarily focus on covering the physical structure of the property, with less emphasis on personal property and additional living expenses.
  3. Perils Covered: HO policies generally offer broader coverage, with HO-3 and HO-5 providing "all-risk" coverage for the dwelling. DP policies, on the other hand, may have more limited named perils coverage, especially in the case of DP-1 and DP-2 policies.
  4. Payout Basis: DP-1 policies typically pay out actual cash value (ACV) for damages, which factors in depreciation. HO policies and DP-2 and DP-3 policies often pay out replacement cost value (RCV), which covers the cost to repair or replace the damaged property without deducting for depreciation.
  5. Liability Coverage: While HO policies automatically include personal liability coverage, DP policies may offer liability coverage as an optional add-on or a separate policy altogether.
  6. Cost: Due to the differences in coverage and risk associated with non-owner-occupied properties, DP policies may have higher premiums compared to HO policies.

Choosing the Right Policy

When deciding between an HO and DP policy, consider the following factors:

  1. Property Occupancy: If you live in the property you're insuring, an HO policy is likely the most appropriate choice. If you're insuring a rental property or a vacation home, a DP policy may be more suitable.
  2. Coverage Needs: Assess the level of coverage you require for your property. Consider the property's age, condition, and value, as well as any personal property or liability concerns.
  3. Budget: Compare the costs of different policy types and coverage levels to find a balance between adequate protection and affordability.
  4. Lender Requirements: If you have a mortgage on the property, your lender may have specific insurance requirements you must meet.

Consulting with a knowledgeable insurance agent can help you navigate the differences between HO and DP policies and determine the best coverage for your unique situation.

In conclusion, understanding the distinctions between HO and DP insurance policies is essential for properly protecting your residential property. By assessing your specific needs and working with an experienced insurance professional, you can select the policy type and coverage levels that offer the right balance of protection and value for your home or rental property.



This post is for informational purposes only and does not serve as legal, financial, or tax advice. Consult your own legal, financial, or tax advisor for matters mentioned here. The information on this site is general in nature. Any description of coverage is necessarily simplified. Whether a particular loss is covered depends on the specific facts and the provisions, exclusions and limits of the actual policy. Nothing on this site alters the terms or conditions of any of our policies. You should read the policy for a complete description of coverage. Coverage options, limits, discounts, deductibles and other features are subject to individuals meeting our underwriting criteria and state availability. Not all features available in all states. Discounts may not apply to all coverages. Steadily is not liable for any actions taken based on this information. If you believe any of this information may be inaccurate please contact us.

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