Do historic homes need a special type of homeowners insurance?
UPDATED: Oct 9, 2012
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Asked October 9, 2012
The problem with older homes is that they sometimes include materials that are no longer used, or which may be cost-prohibitive. For the best coverage, an HO-8 homeowner's policy is designed especially for older homes. Your mortgage company may require you to purchase older home coverage in some cases, but it is for more common for such coverage to be a voluntary decision rather than a mortgage requirement.
It might be a good idea to have the home appraised by an appraiser that is experienced in older homes. This will give you some insight into what special materials are used in the construction, and an estimated cost for the home. If the home uses special materials that are not readily available or have a high basic cost, it may be in your best interest to get an HO-8 policy.
Some older homes are built with stained glass, special wood or molding that was specially designed or even hand-crafted. Since these things are no longer used in home construction, a standard policy would not be adequate for repairing the home if it is damaged.
As with other types of home insurance, not all perils are covered with an HO-8 policy. Two major examples are floods and earthquakes. If you want coverage for the excluded perils, you will generally have to purchase the special insurance separately, and in some cases you may only be able to get things like flood insurance through high risk insurers or special insurance pools set up by the federal government.
Answered October 9, 2012 by Anonymous