by Francine L. Huff
Old House Web Columnist
If you've recently bought or are planning to buy an historic home, you may be excited about all the restoration projects awaiting you. But before investing your hard-earned dollars in expensive home-improvement projects, make sure you have adequate insurance to cover any accidents or disasters that may occur.
Insurance Just for Historic Homes
Many homeowners have gaps in their insurance coverage, and owners of historic homes are even more likely to have inadequate coverage. Obtaining insurance from a firm that specializes in historic homes is your best bet for covering all your bases. While you may pay more for this coverage than with a standard insurance policy, it's well worth it if you have a home with one-of-a-kind features such as original hardwood floors, stained glass, or fancy wood moldings.
Insurance Coverage for Replacement Value
An insurance policy for a historic home should guarantee replacement-in-kind coverage. That will allow you to replace unique details such as hand-crafted wood features or other hard-to-replace details. Standard insurance policies generally insure homes only for the market value, which is the price you would get if you sold your house. If your historic home has expensive antiques or artwork, you'll also want to make sure your insurance policy covers those items. If necessary, itemize your valuables so that their full value will be covered.
Finding an Affordable Insurance Policy
Insurance coverage for historic homes doesn't come cheap and many homeowners end up taking out standard policies to save money. But owning an historic home is a big investment, so it's important to do everything you can to protect that investment. Installing fire and burglar alarms can help lower premiums. It's also important to make sure any restoration or repair work on your home complies with local, state, and federal building codes.
Remember that repairs or upgrades to a historic home will likely increase its value and may result in higher insurance premiums. But in some cases, upgrading old plumbing and electrical systems may actually help convince underwriters to insure your home.
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