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Historic homes are special, and require special insurance. Historic home insurance can be more challenging to find because these homes often have special features or difficult-to-replace construction materials that makes it hard to calculate replacement cost.

Historic homes that are on the National Register of Historic Places also face special rules and requirements for their maintenance and repair, adhering to the construction materials of the period in which it was built.

If you have a historic home, you’ll likely need specialty insurance for it. You have a few options, including HO-8 and high-value home insurance, but it depends on the specifics of your home.

Key Takeaways

  • Historic homes can be difficult to insure due to outdated materials and special features.
  • Specialty insurance is available for historic homes, but it may be more expensive.
  • An HO-8 policy may be the only option for your historic home, but only provides actual cash value coverage for your home.

Historic home insuranceHow to insure historic homes

Insuring a historic home is about protecting more than an investment, and some insurers understand that better than others.

“People who purchase historic homes often view themselves as the caretakers of a legacy and take great effort to maintain their property and protect it, which is appealing to us from an underwriting perspective. We therefore insure historic homes throughout the world — ancient castles across Europe, 1700s Colonials in the Northeast, 1800s ‘Shotgun’ and ‘Dogtrot’ style homes in the South, 1920s Bungalows in the West, architecturally significant homes by famous architects and everything in between,” says Christie Alderman, vice president at Chubb Personal Insurance.

Historic homes can sometimes be insured on a standard home insurance policy, but often require a specialty policy. That’s especially true of the home is registered either nationally or by a local registry.

Having a house on a historic registry can prove helpful if there’s a claim, even though there can be potential for conflicts between historic association requirements to maintain certain authentic characteristics and insurance company assessments of repairs.

Types of home insurance coverage for historic houses

The type of home insurance policy you select for your home depends on a few factors, including the home’s value, electrical and plumbing systems and other updates and whether the home is listed on a registry. Here are a few options for historic home insurance.

Standard home insurance (HO-3 or HO-5)

Your home may qualify for a standard home insurance policy if all of the plumbing and wiring systems are up to date and its in good condition. An HO-3 is the most common home insurance policy, while an HO-5 offers some added coverage. However, HO-5 policies are usually offered only to homes in the best condition.

Modified form home insurance (HO-8)

An HO-8 policy is a specialty policy designed for homes that don’t qualify for standard coverage, generally because they are older, have outdated systems or are hard to cover on a replacement cost basis. Historic homes often fit this category. HO-8 insurance covers the home on an actual cash value basis, which means depreciation is included in any claim payout.

It’s important to note that there’s a difference between historic homes and older homes when it comes to insurance. Home insurance companies may see any home built more than 40 or 50 years ago as an older home, but that doesn’t mean it needs an HO-8 policy or that it’s historic.

High-value home insurance

Historic homes are also often very valuable. When you have a high-value home that is difficult to insure due to its historic status, you should consider companies with a special high-value home program. Chubb, AIG and Nationwide all offer specialty home insurance for high-value homes. this type of policy will ensure you have enough coverage to properly protect your home.

How to find historic home insurance

The best place to start shopping for historic home insurance is with an agent who specializes in this type of insurance. The National Trust Insurance Services (NTIS) also provides assistance to owners of historic homes who are looking for the right insurance.

Most major home insurance companies offer some form of insurance for historic homes, but the coverage offered may not be enough for your needs. Be sure to take the time to shop around and compare your options. Historic homes are valuable, but their value can be difficult for an insurance company to calculate. A specialty insurer may be the best choice for your needs.