I own a historic home. Do I need special insurance?

By Insurance.com Posted : 01/01/2011

A standard home insurance policy will pay for repairs if your home is damaged or destroyed up to the estimated replacement cost. But it won't necessarily pay to replace everything with historically authentic materials and fine craftsmanship. You need specialized coverage to guarantee a historic home will be restored to its original splendor.

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Work with an insurance company that specializes in insuring historic buildings. The process should start with a detailed appraisal by an expert in historic architecture to identify the unique materials and features in the home.

An insurance agent who specializes in working with owners of historic homes can then design a policy that fully protects the home and all the features that give it character--from stained glass windows to hand-carved molding. Because a policy for a historic home includes higher limits for replacement, it costs more than a standard home insurance policy. But the extra expense is worth it if you don't want to risk losing the home's unique character.

Remember: get insurance coverage for the antiques and fine art

Make sure the policy also includes enough coverage for personal belongings. Standard home insurance policies include limits on certain items, such as antiques and fine art. Make sure the historic-home insurance policy accounts for these belongings and insures their full value.

As with standard home insurance, specialized coverage for historic houses also includes additional living expenses. This pays your extra costs if you have to live elsewhere while the home is undergoing repairs after an insured loss. Make sure the limit on the time period for additional living expenses is long enough to accommodate rebuilding. The construction period to restore a destroyed historic home will likely take longer than reconstruction of an ordinary house.

For more, see "Insuring your historic home."


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