In this section we elaborate on endorsements that supplement coverage in the HO-3:
- Personal property replacement cost
- Scheduled personal property
- Business pursuits
- Personal injury
This endorsement can be added to your policy to cover losses such as those suffered by residents of the San Francisco Bay area when a 1989 earthquake caused damage of $20.3 billion. Unfortunately, only approximately 10 percent of the damage was covered by insurance, despite the frequency of earthquakes in California. The low reimbursement rate is due to several factors, including the failure of the majority of homeowners to purchase the endorsement and the effect of a deductible of 2 percent (in some states, 10 percent) of the insurance applicable separately to dwellings and other structures. A minimum deductible of $250 applies to any one loss. The endorsement covers damage caused by earth movement, including earthquakes, landslides, and volcanic eruptions.
Personal Property Replacement Cost Endorsement
Coverage C of HO-3 pays for loss on an actual cash-value basis, which means replacement cost minus depreciation. Except for something you bought very recently, you are underinsured from the replacement cost point of view. For example, your four-year-old large-screen television might cost $700 to replace today. If it has depreciated 10 percent per year, the insurer will pay you $420 in the event it is stolen or destroyed this year. You will have to find another $280 if you want to replace it. You can protect yourself from this unfavorable development by adding a personal property replacement cost endorsement to your homeowners policy. In the event of a loss, it will pay you the lowest of the following:
- The full cost of replacement (if replacement cost exceeds $500, actual replacement must occur)
- The cost incurred to repair or restore the item
- The limit of coverage C
- Any special limit stipulated in the policy
- Any limit separately added by endorsement
Scheduled Personal Property Endorsement
Some of the special limits that apply to personal property may be too low for you. Your jewelry or furs, for example, may be worth far more than the $1,000 limit. Such property can be listed and specifically insured to provide adequate coverage against all risks by adding the scheduled personal property endorsement. Another alternative is to pay an extra premium amount to have the main policy’s limit for a particular category of personal property, such as jewelry, watches, and furs, increased. (Note, however, that this leaves your coverage on a named-perils basis rather than changing it to open perils.) The insurer may require an appraisal at your expense before agreeing to a specified value.
Business Pursuits Endorsement
Personal liability coverage and medical payments to others coverage does not apply to bodily injury or property damage arising out of business pursuits of any insured or out of rendering or failing to render professional services. The business pursuits exclusion does not apply, however, to activities that are ordinarily incident to nonbusiness pursuits. For example, your liability exposure in connection with an occasional garage sale would be covered. If you conduct garage sales regularly, however, such activity is a business pursuit and liability coverage does not apply. Liability stemming from rental operations, except for the occasional rental of your residence or rental to no more than two people, is also excluded. Normal part-time employment, such as an after-school job, is not considered a business pursuit. But what about regular, full-time summer employment as a lifeguard? Such employment could be considered a business pursuit. The business pursuits endorsement eliminates these exclusions.
Personal Injury Endorsement
The liability coverage of your homeowners policy provides protection against losses caused by bodily injury or property damage for which you may be responsible. Bodily injury is defined as bodily harm, sickness, or disease. It does not include the following, which are considered to be personal injury and are added by the personal injury endorsement:
- False arrest, detention, or imprisonment, or malicious prosecution
- Libel, slander, defamation of character, or violation of the right of privacy
- Invasion of the right of private occupation, wrongful eviction, or wrongful entry
Could you become liable for personal injury? Suppose you write a letter to the editor of the local paper in which you make a defamatory statement about a person. You could be sued for libel. Or suppose you make an oral defamatory statement about someone. You could be sued for slander.
The endorsements of 2002 relate to the mold exclusions adopted by many states to lower the cost of homeowners insurance, and particularly mold claims. The ISO “Limited Fungi, Wet or Dry Rot, or Bacteria Coverage” endorsement adds an exclusion to the HO-3 policy (see "Appendix A"). This endorsement specifies coverage limits per incidence of mold that are lower than the limits available under the HO-3. The endorsement specifies the following definitions:
SECTION I—PERILS INSURED AGAINST in form HO 00 03:
A. Coverage A—Dwelling and Coverage B—Other Structures
Paragraph 2.c.(5) is deleted and replaced by the following:
(5) Caused by constant or repeated seepage or leakage of water or the presence or condensation of humidity, moisture or vapor, over a period of weeks, months or years unless such seepage or leakage of water or the presence or condensation of humidity, moisture or vapor and the resulting damage is unknown to all insureds and is hidden within the walls or ceilings or beneath the floors or above the ceilings of a structure.
Paragraph 2.c.(6)(c) is deleted and replaced by the following:
(c) Smog, rust or other corrosion;
B. Coverage C—Personal Property
12. Accidental Discharge or Overflow of Water or Steam
Paragraph b.(4) is deleted and replaced by the following:
(4) Caused by constant or repeated seepage or leakage of water or the presence or condensation of humidity, moisture or vapor, over a period of weeks, months or years unless such seepage or leakage of water or the presence or condensation of humidity, moisture or vapor and the resulting damage is unknown to all insureds and is hidden within the walls or ceilings or beneath the floors or above the ceilings of a structure.
The following exclusion is added:
Exclusion A.10. is added.
10. Fungi, Wet or Dry Rot, or Bacteria
Fungi, Wet or Dry Rot, or Bacteria meaning the presence, growth, proliferation, spread or any activity of fungi, wet or dry rot, or bacteria.
This exclusion does not apply:
- When fungi, wet or dry rot, or bacteria results from fire or lightning; or
- To the extent coverage is provided for in the Fungi, Wet or Dry Rot, or Bacteria Additional Coverage under Section I—Property Coverages with respect to loss caused by a Peril Insured Against other than fire or lightning.
Direct loss by a Peril Insured Against resulting from fungi, wet or dry rot, or bacteria is covered.
The only other coverage is what is provided under Additional Coverage as bought by the insured and specified in the following table:
|1.||Section I—Property Coverage Limit of Liability for the Additional Coverage “Fungi,” Wet or Dry Rot, or Bacteria||$|
|2.||Section II—Coverage E Aggregate Sublimit of Liability for “Fungi.” Wet or Dry Rot, or Bacteria||$|
|* Entries may be left blank if shown elsewhere in this policy for this coverage.|
These limits of liability apply to the total of all loss or costs payable under this endorsement, regardless of the number of “occurrences,” the number of claims made, or the number of locations insured under this endorsement and listed in this schedule.
Including sections of the endorsement here is a way to provide the student with some explanation of how to read the endorsement in "Appendix A".
In this section you studied common endorsements that may be added to the HO-3 for additional coverages and coverage of perils that would otherwise be excluded:
- Earthquake endorsement—covers damage caused by earth movement such as landslides, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions
- Personal property replacement cost—pays the lowest of full cost of replacement, cost incurred to repair/restore item, limit of coverage C, any special limit stipulated in policy, and any limit separately endorsed to policy
- Scheduled personal property—specifies greater limits on particularly valuable personal property
- Business pursuits—applies personal liability and medical payments to others coverage to insureds’ business pursuits and professional services
- Personal injury—liability coverage for false arrest, false detention, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, libel, slander, defamation of character, and the like
- Mold—coverage for fungi, wet or dry rot, or bacteria
- Why might a homeowners policy provide coverage for losses arising out of business pursuits, even by endorsement?
- Other than the added cost, what is a drawback to paying extra premium to have the main policy’s limit for a particular category of personal property increased?
- Would you be willing to pay a higher premium for mold coverage as a standard peril in the HO-3 rather than obtain this coverage by endorsement only? In other words, are insurers doing policyholders a favor in excluding mold and offering coverage only by endorsement? Why or why not?