Questions and answers relating to houses built in the 1800s and before.

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Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2006 3:14 pm
Location: Ohio


Post by RF »

Hi Everyone.

Well, it took six months to get a clear title on the George Barber #44 house. I was ready to bail after hitting my head on the wall with the lawyers and such for all of six months. The bulldozers were coming up the street to take it out and a last call appeal to the State of Ohio got us the clear title.

Anyway, It's ours, and I'm going to need to insure this investment. I'm confused between Builder's Risk Insurance, or some type of insurance that will protect our investment while we do the project. I don't think We'll be able to live in it for two years from today so that rules out most insurance plans. I'm already six months behind due to all the liens that were against it.

Anybody ever have to cross this bridge? Can you guide me to a firm that doesn't want both arms and my leg?

I did a search here, and also via the net and haven't come up with much.

Info on this house is here.
1890's Queen Anne saved from the wrecking ball (well, a very large, and mean looking bulldozer).

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Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2006 12:30 pm
Location: Central Illinois

Post by rrobinson720 »

I have no real knowledge of insurance, sorry. But it is a beautiful house -- it will be spectacular when done. :) I love the website, too.

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Location: Beavercreek, OR

Post by whispertalos »

not sure on the insurance.. we dont have any.. <sigh>

But I can relate to the condition of your house..<S> ours is about the same


1907 Modified foursquare
Farm House

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Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 7:38 pm
Location: Williamsburg, Ohio

Post by spriv »

We also had trouble getting insurance because our house was not in the best shape. This is temporary insurance but I don't know if you can use it if you aren't living there. It's not cheap but it sure helped us.

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Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2005 8:36 pm
Location: Rural Eastern North Carolina


Post by James »

You need to contact an insurance broker, someone independant, not tied to a specific company. And have them contact Lloyd's of London. I suppose they may not be willing to cover every house out there but they covered mine and never even came out to do a visit. They were supposed to but could not find the house and were supposed to come back for a visit at a later date but never did. So they seem to be fairly easy to work with based on my experience with them so far. Of course one of co-workers heard what I pay and was shocked. And not pleasantly so, but they were the only company willing to cover it except for one state mandated plan like for high risk drivers and they were better than that so I was damn glad to get them.
Makes for a good ice breaker at cocktail parties too. Most folks are shocked to find out you have to have your house insured by the same folks who insure super tankers.

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Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2006 6:33 pm
Location: Sanford, NC

Post by al_roethlisberger »

I just went through this process, and it was painful and expensive.

I went through several insurance brokers, and it took weeks to finally nail something down.

Our first successful bid was indeed from Lloyd's, but unless you have some very special circumstances or are quite wealthy, you probably want to only use them as a last ditch alternative. They were by far, in fact by a factor of 4, the most expensive.

To insure, fire only(builders risk, no contents, replacement value of home only) our home for the ~$600k they said it would cost to replace, it was $4000 for SIX MONTHS.

I've had State Farm for years, and have been very happy with them. They tried to work something out, but the regional office underwriters simply wouldn't go for it because:

- old house
- being renovated
- not occupied

They said if any one of those weren't there, they MIGHT have gone for it, but not with all three. It didn't matter that I would be at the house several times a week and portions of the weekend, or that the house was basically "live in condition" now. I even asked how this was different from a vacation house, and they(and just about every other insurer too) said... "well, it just is different. Sorry, we won't insure it for any price."


I even tried one of the many specialty "old house" insurance companies(do a Google or search this site) and they could have insured me, but in my case, NC is apparently one of 5 or 6 "fire states" where there has been a bunch of insurance fraud. So even with those companies, I couldn't get basic fire coverage

But after many many calls to several brokers, I eventually found a policy that was only about twice as expensive as a standard homeowners policy. Then I had to also find a liability rider that at best was about $300 for six months providing $500k coverage.

It's not ideal, but it will work until we move in during late summer or early fall when I can convert it to a regular homeowners.

But it is a challenge.

Every old house I've had required some extra work to get insured, but this one was a real pain. It makes you wonder sometimes how some folks get coverage, and how communities can expect people to want to "take on" saving an old home when they nearly can't get it insured.

It's frustrating.

Good luck though. Call around to multiple brokers and keep at them.

Also be sure they have their information correct. Several of the agents I dealt with made all sorts of incorrect assumptions about my house.

Lewis D. Isenhour House

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Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2006 6:01 pm

Post by johnb. »

Our house was in need of much work to make it habitable. However, we just got a regular homeowner's policy. Then, as we got more of the house completed, we added to the value of the policy. So, we basically got a policy for the assessed value at the time we purchased the house. However, we're not in an urban area, so things may be different for you.

As for a mortgage, there was no bank that would give us a mortgage on ours, initially. So, we paid cash and did some work on her. The Missus begged a mortgage out of private bank. They required the heat system to be up and working and that the kitchen sink be installed (go figure---it didn't matter that there was no usable septic system, just that it had a working kitchen sink!).

We needed the mortgage because the money spent on the purchase, was the money that was to be used for the renovation. Good luck and happy renovating!

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Location: Upstate & Queens, NY

Post by moonshadow317 »

Outstanding House !
I would go for just a regular homeowners policy. If you don't live there it's a second home (vacation) We never had a problem with our second house.


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Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 9:50 am
Location: Northeast

Post by lrkrgrrl »

Actually, it's not a great idea to call an uninhabited, uninhabitable, under renovation house your "second home." Be honest with your insurance agent. Because otherwise it's called "fraud."

Ah, now I remember this house! What a beauty.

Especially since you've just gone through to rescue her, you should probably go for the builders insurance. If there was a condemnation order, the insurance companies may have information about that from public record, and they will have legitimate concerns if you try to claim it's your vacation place!

Good luck!

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Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 10:18 am

Post by ManteroConsulting »

My oh my that is one fabulous-o house! Such potential.

We got lucky with our homeowners insurance. Several turned us down flat because we had the "bad three"--in renovation, not occupied, old house complete with ancient plumbing and KT wiring. Finally we happened upon our (now) State Farm agent, who listened to the whole situation and insured us on our assurances that the work necessary to make it insurable would be complete by X date. Once the work was complete, we sent her copies of all the invoices as well as photos for her files. She was great to work with, just great. And our premiums are downright reasonable!
Swans Road — circa 1875 farmhouse, largely untouched, purchased as-is including contents (for better or for worse!)
Visit my blog!

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