Understanding The Differences Between Basic, Board, and Special Policy Form

When securing California property insurance coverage, whether it is homeowners, renters or condominiums – there are often three different levels of property insurance coverage – Basic Form Insurance, Broad Form Insurance and Special Form Insurance. The difference between these coverage forms isn’t well understood by many property owners and confusion may lead to unforeseen gaps in property coverage. This article is for you to better understand the differences between Basic Form coverage, Broad Form coverage, and Special Form coverage.

Cause of Loss Forms Comparison Chart

Covered Causes ofLoss Basic Form Broad Form Special Form
Fire X X X
Lighting X X X
Explosion X X X
Windstorm or Hail X X X
Smoke X X X
Aircraft or Vehicles X X X
Riot or Civil Commotion X X X
Vandalism X X X
Sprinkler Leakage X X X
Sinkhole Collapse X X X
Volcanic Action X X X
Breakage of Glass X X
Falling Objects X X
Weight of Snow, Ice or Sleet X X
Water Damage X X
Theft X
Other Unspecified Perils X
Additional Coverage - Collapse X X

Basic Form

Starting with the Basic Form of insurance coverage, this policy is also called “named perils” policy. This means that if a coverage is not specifically listed, or named, in the insurance policy, there is no coverage. A Basic Form policy tends to have the cheapest premiums, however it is limited in scope and should be used with care. Coverages included in a typical Basic Form policy are:
  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Explosion
  • Windstorm or Hail
  • Smoke
  • Aircraft or Vehicle Collision
  • Riot or Civil Commotion
  • Vandalism
  • Sprinkler Leakage
  • Sinkhole Collapse
  • Volcanic Activity

Broad Form

The next level of coverage on a property insurance policy is the Broad Form policy (HO-2). The hazards in the Basic Form are carried over plus several additional hazards which are expressly named. It’s important to note that both Basic and Broad Form coverage policies only cover a specific set of named perils. Remember, if a coverage is not specifically named in the policy, that coverage is excluded. Coverages included in a typical Broad Form policy (in addition to what’s covered by the Basic Form) are:

  • Burglary/Break-in damage
  • Falling Objects (like tree limbs)
  • Weight of Ice, Snow or sleet
  • Accidental Water Damage

Special Form

The special form is the most commonly found form in the insurance market today. Special form policy offers the most comprehensive coverage of the three options. Unlike Basic and Broad Form Coverage, Special Form policies offer “all-risk” coverage. In other words, all perils are covered unless it is specifically excluded in your policy. Here are common exclusions to most Special Form policies.
  • Ordinance of Law
  • Earthquake
  • Flood
  • Power Failure
  • Neglect
  • War
  • Nuclear Hazard
  • Intentional Acts
We would be happy to go over your current policy and let you know if we see any gaps in your current coverage. Please give us a call at (833) 817-7280.