In general, there are three forms of NY Homeowners Insurance coverage:
- Broad, and
- Special (commonly known as open or all perils policy).
The breadth of coverage increases from Basic to Broad, with Special being the most inclusive. Most people with a NY homeowners insurance policy written in the last 5-10 years will have a Special Form policy. However, please do NOT assume that to be true.
All you loyal insurance consumers out there that have been with the same carrier for 10, 15, 20 years… You most likely are still on a Broad Form policy (unless you are with a high quality Independent Agent that shop your risk on renewal).
Please do not assume that your policy has been upgraded, it most likely has not.
For those of you that live in urban areas, some NY insurance carriers will only write Broad Form policies in cities (i.e. Albany, Troy, Schenectady). Other NY homeowners insurance carriers only write Broad Form policies on dwellings built prior to 1930 (so basically every urban dwelling in the Northeast). If you own a multi-unit home, some insurance carriers will only write Broad Form on dwelling with more than 2 units.
Basically what I’m getting at here is there are many scenarios which may have forced your independent insurance agent to write you a Broad Form policy without your specific knowledge.
So what is wrong with a Broad Form Policy?
Nothing, if you understand what is covered and what is not and have made an informed decision to purchase Broad Form homeowners insurance coverage. However, Special Form is superior in so many ways that I EXUBERANTLY RECOMMEND you purchase Special Form over Broad.
The following list outlines the coverages included in each policy form. (I have included examples of claims in parenthesis for perils that are not as clear).
Basic Form Policy
- Internal Explosion (explosion originating from within structure)
- Windstorm or Hail
- Smoke (resulting from fire or furnace puff-back)
- Aircraft or Vehicle (airplane crashes on dwelling or car hits dwelling)
- Riot or Civil Commotion (like when the doors open at Walmart on Black Friday)
- Volcanic Eruption
Broad Form Policy
Covered Perils (in addition to Basic Form Coverages)
- Burglary Damage (damage resulting from a break-in)
- Falling Objects (tree falling on dwelling)
- Weight of Ice & Snow
- Tearing, Cracking, Burning, Bulging (pipe breaks spewing water all over dwelling)
- Discharge / Overflow Water or Steam
- Freezing of Plumbing
- Artificially Generated Electricity
Special Form Coverage
EVERYTHING IS COVERED!!!
- Ordinance or Law
- Power Failure
- Nuclear Hazard
- Intentional Act
So which policy would you rather have?
Broad Form where you have to live by a list of perils or Special Form where only eight perils are not covered?
You never want to put yourself in a position where a loss occurs and the claim is denied because it was not listed in Broad Form coverages.
If you would like to find out if you currently have Special Form homeowners insurance or Broad Form or if you would like a quote for Special Form homeowners insurance in New York State give us a call at (518) 456-6688 and one of our personal insurance specialists will be happy to help!