Homeowners Insurance: Named vs. Opened Perils

A typical homeowners insurance policy will provide coverage for both "named" and "open" perils. But what are homeowners insurance named and open perils? Named perils are potentially harmful events that are named in your policy. Named peril examples include lightning, wind damage, and vehicle damage. Policies can vary. The open perils definition is that it will cover all other damage to your home except for causes of damage that are specifically named in the open perils section. Typical open peril exclusions include flooding and earthquakes — both of which usually have to be covered separately.

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Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about auto insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, researching investigative pieces, and crafting detailed, data-driven features. His works have been featured on CB Blog Nation, Flow Words, Healing Law, WIBW Kansas, and Cinncinati.com. ...

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Reviewed by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent Rachael Brennan

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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Many first time homeowners make the mistake of believing that their policy, especially a comprehensive one like an HO-3 policy, basically covers every possible bad thing that could damage their property. These unfortunate occurrences are known as “perils” in the insurance industry.

One of the best ways of avoiding common home insurance pitfalls is to understand homeowners insurance’s named and open perils.

Once you have some idea of what to look out for, you can use our FREE comparison tool to get several quotes and find the best coverage for you.

What Homeowners Insurance Policies Cover and Exclude

Unfortunately, your policy will only cover some perils. Furthermore, not every piece of property in your home or on your land will be covered from peril to peril. If you’re already confused, it’s okay; you certainly aren’t alone. Below, we’ll sort through the confusion so that you can have a better understanding of not just your homeowners insurance policy, but what your premiums are actually paying for.

Average Annual PremiumLegend: Average Annual Premium FloridaOregonConnecticutUtahOklahomaIdahoColoradoNevadaLouisianaWisconsin 150300450600750900105012001350$1471$656$1329$672$1413$713$1298$718$1391$735

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Named Perils

There are certain coverages on your policy that protect against damages caused by “named” perils. Your insurance agent will provide you with a list of these specific perils, and they will be outlined in your policy paperwork. For the most part, named perils apply to the contents within your home, including personal property such as furniture, electronics, appliances, and more.

If your property is covered by named perils, then your insurance company will only pay out claims if the peril that did the damage is on your list of named perils. Any other peril — even if that peril would get a claim payout on, say, your dwelling’s structure — will not be covered by your insurance company. You will have to pay for the damages yourself, 100 percent out of pocket.

For this reason, it’s very important to know what named perils are included on your policy. Your insurance agent can give you more specific information, but in general, named perils include:

  • Fire or lightning
  • Windstorm or hail
  • Explosion
  • Riot or civil commotion
  • Aircraft
  • Vehicles
  • Smoke
  • Vandalism and malicious mischief
  • Theft
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Falling objects
  • Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
  • Accidental water discharge from plumbing, heating, A/C, appliances, or sprinklers
  • Accidental damage to heating, A/C, sprinkler, or water-heating appliance systems
  • Freezing of plumbing, heating, A/C, appliances, or sprinkler systems
  • Sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electricity

If you believe your property is vulnerable to perils that are not listed above, then be sure to talk to your insurance agent about it. In some cases, you may be able to add endorsements (or “riders”) to your policy which can give you added protection. It will likely increase your annual premium, however, so be careful with how many endorsements you choose.

Open Perils

Open perils work somewhat opposite to named perils. With open perils coverage, you will receive a claim payout for damages caused by any conceivable peril except for those named on your excluded perils list. More often than not, your typical HO-3 policy will exclude the following perils from your open perils coverage:

  • Earthquakes and other earth movements
  • Ordinance or law
  • Flooding
  • Power failure
  • Neglect
  • War
  • Nuclear hazard
  • Intentional loss
  • Government action
  • Collapse
  • Theft to a dwelling under construction
  • Vandalism or malicious mischief after a 60-day vacancy
  • Mold, fungus, or wet rot
  • Wear, tear, and/or deterioration
  • Mechanical breakdown
  • Smog, rust, and/or corrosion
  • Agricultural and/or industrial operations
  • Pollution discharge, dispersal, or seepage
  • Settling, shrinking, bulging, or expansion
  • Birds, vermin, rodents, or insects
  • Pets you own

For some of these perils, you may also be able to get riders that will remove them from your excluded perils list and cover them under your insurance policy. Others, such as flood insurance or earthquake insurance, are almost never covered by private insurance companies. If you live in an area prone to earthquakes, flooding, or any other perils that your insurer refuses to cover, you may have to purchase a completely separate policy. For those extra-risky and/or extra-expensive perils that your insurance company is hesitant to cover, you may have to pay a completely separate (and often more expensive) deductible before your provider will pay out any claims.

Learn More

For more information on perils that could damage your home, as well as how to get covered, check out the following links:

Flood Insurance

Earthquake Insurance

And if you need to gather homeowners insurance quotes, use our FREE comparison tool right now.

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