Top Things to Consider When Choosing Homeowners Insurance for Your Historic Home or Property

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Top Things to Consider When Choosing Homeowners Insurance for Your Historic Home or Property – As a mother and homeowner of a historic home, I’m always
fascinated by the beautiful architecture and rich history of these properties.
After months of searching, my family and I finally found a Victorian-style home
that was over 100 years old. It had all of the features we had been looking for
– a wrap-around porch, intricate woodwork, and a grand staircase. We knew it
was the one and made an offer on the spot.

But as I began the process of purchasing our dream home, I
realized that I needed to purchase homeowners insurance to protect our
investment, to understand as owners of a historic home, we knew that our
property was unique and valuable. From its intricate architectural details to
its rich history, our home is more than just a place to live – it’s a piece of
living history.

That’s why it’s important to understand the potential risks
and challenges that we may face as owners of a historic home. We needed
specific coverage options that were available to us through homeowners
insurance for historic homes. With this insurance, we knew that we would be
able to protect our investment and ensure that our home would be preserved for
future generations to appreciate and enjoy.

Basically owning a historic home is a special experience, as these architectural treasures often come with unique charm and character. However, insuring a historic home requires careful consideration to ensure adequate protection for its distinct features and potential risks. In this article, we will explore the top factors to consider when selecting homeowners insurance for your historic home, helping you make informed decisions to safeguard your valuable investment.

So What is Historic Home?

For your home or a designated historic site to be officially
considered, our home must meet certain standards set by the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places.

The National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is a national
program dedicated to preserving historic properties across the United States.
Additionally, states and municipalities can designate homes or neighborhoods as

When evaluating your property, the National Registry will
consider three areas:

  • Age: our home
    must be over 50 years old to be considered historic.
  • Integrity: our
    home must look same or simillar to when it was built.
  • Significance: our home should have some kind of cultural significance—this could mean that
    an important person lived there, that a historical figure was associated with
    the property, or that it represents architectural or engineering excellence
    from a particular time period.

One of the most important factor to consider when purchasing
homeowners insurance for a historic home is the age of the home. Older homes
may have outdated electrical and plumbing systems, some might rusty as well as
other features that could be considered a liability. This can make them more
expensive to insure. It’s important to have a thorough inspection of the house
before purchasing the right insurance to ensure that any potential issues are
identified and addressed.

Another factor to consider is the replacement cost of the
home. If our home is a one-of-a-kind historic property, it may be more
difficult to find replacement materials or craftsmen skilled in repairing or
restoring the home’s unique features. This can increase the cost of repairs
and, in turn, the cost of insurance. It’s important to work with an insurance
company that has experience insuring historic homes and understands the unique
challenges that these properties may present.

It’s also important to consider the location of our historic
home. If the home is located in an area that is prone to natural disasters,
such as earthquakes or floods, we may need to purchase additional coverage to
protect against these events. Similarly, if the home is located in a high-crime
area, we may need to purchase additional coverage to protect against theft and

Homes that qualify as landmarks or historic buildings often
receive perks such as tax breaks and low-interest loans. In turn, you as the
homeowner are responsible for maintaining and protecting the integrity and
heritage of the home.

6 Thing To Consider When Purchasing Homeowners Insurance for Historic Home

1. Preservation and Restoration Coverage

Historic homes often require specific preservation and
restoration methods, which can be more expensive than regular maintenance for
modern homes. When choosing homeowners insurance, look for coverage that
accounts for the unique materials, craftsmanship, and architectural features of
your historic property. Ensure that the policy includes provisions for
specialized restoration techniques and materials, as well as coverage for the
increased cost of rebuilding or repairing historical elements in the event of
damage or loss.

2. Guaranteed Replacement Cost Coverage

Standard policies typically provide coverage up to a
specified limit, which may not be sufficient for the cost of rebuilding or
restoring a historic home. Consider selecting a policy that offers guaranteed
replacement cost coverage, ensuring that your insurance will cover the full
cost of rebuilding or repairing your home, regardless of the limits specified
in the policy. This type of coverage provides added peace of mind, particularly
for historic homes with unique architectural details and hard-to-find

3. Appropriate Valuation

Accurately valuing a historic home can be challenging due to
its historical significance and potential appreciation over time. Work with an
experienced appraiser who specializes in historic properties to determine the
appropriate value of your home for insurance purposes. This valuation should
consider factors such as historical significance, architectural integrity, and
the market value of comparable properties. By ensuring an accurate valuation,
you can avoid overpaying for coverage or being underinsured in the event of a

4. Specialized Coverage for Historic Artifacts

Historic homes often house valuable artifacts and antiques
that require additional coverage beyond standard personal property coverage.
Consider adding a rider or endorsement to your policy specifically for these
valuable items. This specialized coverage should provide adequate protection
for your historic artifacts, taking into account their unique value and
potential appreciation over time. Documenting and appraising these items will
help facilitate the claims process in case of damage or loss.

5. Preservation Society Requirements

If your historic home is part of a designated historic
district or governed by a preservation society, it’s essential to review any
insurance requirements or guidelines they may have. Some preservation societies
may have specific insurance requirements to ensure proper protection and
maintenance of historic properties. Confirm that the policy you choose meets
these requirements to ensure compliance and maintain the integrity of your home
within the historic community.

6. Deductible and Premium Considerations

Evaluate the deductible and premium structures of various
insurance policies. While a higher deductible can lower your premium, consider
the potential financial burden in the event of a claim. Strike a balance
between an affordable premium and a deductible that you can comfortably afford.
Additionally, explore potential discounts offered by insurance companies for
features such as security systems, fire-resistant materials, or membership in
historic preservation organizations.

It’s also a good idea to review our homeowners insurance
policy regularly to ensure that it still meets our needs. As our home and our
personal circumstances change, our insurance needs may also change. For
example, if we make significant renovations to our home or acquire additional
valuable items, we may need to adjust our coverage accordingly, here’s how to file a claim insurance.


4 Tips For Insuring Your Historic Home

Here are some tips for purchasing home insurance for our
historic home, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 

1. Using the services of National Trust Insurance Service

Consider finding specialty insurance for historic homeowners
through the National Trust Insurance Services (NTIS), an organization that
helps homeowners find insurance companies that specialize in covering the
unique risks associated with older homes. NTIS works with different insurance
companies and can connect you with the right moving company for your historic
home needs.

2. Consider a high value homeowners insurance company

Some insurance companies specialize in covering high-value
homes, including historic homes. Here are two high value insurance companies
that you may want to consider if they are available in your area:

  • Chubb: Chubb
    offers extended replacement cost policies at no additional cost, as well as
    personal property coverage for replacement cost.
  • AIG: AIG offers
    guaranteed replacement cost policies, unlimited water backup coverage, and free
    home counseling services for homes built before 1945.

3. Consider the HO-8 policy

An HO-8 policy, also called modified coverage insurance, is
a type of homeowners insurance designed for older homes or homes with a rebuild
cost above their market value.

HO-8 policies are geared towards protecting older homes that
do not meet homeowners insurance coverage standards. Unlike a standard home
insurance policy, HO-8 policies do not require four-point inspections. And you
may not have to update your home details — such as old pipes or wiring — to
qualify for coverage.

What is the downside? HO-8 policies pay only the actual cash
value of our home and property, which means that depreciation is factored into
reimbursement of your claim after a covered loss.

4. Add an extended replacement or guaranteed replacement
cost coverage for your home

Extended replacement cost coverage is an add-on coverage
that increases your home coverage limits by an additional 25% to 50% if the
cost of rebuilding your home is higher than your policy limit.

Guaranteed replacement coverage is similar to extended
replacement cost, but it reimburses you for the full amount of rebuild costs —
regardless of price. This means that if your home is completely destroyed, the
insurance company will pay the full amount it would cost to rebuild your home
from the ground up.

When it comes to homeowners insurance for historic homes,
it’s important to work with an experienced insurance agent who has a thorough
understanding of the unique needs of these properties. By carefully considering
our coverage options and working with a trusted insurance company, we can
protect our historic home and our investment for years to come.

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