From magazines to passion projects, owning or flipping an old home is a dream for many people. Palatial floor plans, ornate design features, quirky layouts, and charming details, older homes, often found in lovely locations, offer families amazing spaces to create memories. However, living in and an older home may pose unique challenges to homeowners. 

If your home was built fifty or more years ago, it’s important to consider the problems you may encounter. There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of future headaches, for instance, obtaining specialty insurance to protect your old home may protect you financially if something goes awry. 

There are many reasons to love your old house– don’t let the challenges that come with living in one make you fall out of love. Here’s Insurify’s guide to insuring your old home.

Protect Your Old House

See Home Insurance Quotes

Insuring Old vs. New Homes

When shopping around for homeowners insurance for a new house, you’ll notice dozens of insurance companies will offer you policies. The same doesn’t always apply when looking to insure an old home. Home insurance companies perceive homes older than fifty years high-risk. From water damage to worn roofing, older homes often require high cost and frequent repairs, something most homeowners insurance companies don’t want to get involved with. That being said, home insurance is an essential part of protecting any property investment– old or new.  Don’t settle for the first quote you find, use Insurify to find the cheapest quotes from numerous companies, fast. 

To determine the premium you’ll be charged on a monthly basis, insurance companies must assess the risks and values associated with your home. Replacement cost, the amount of money it would cost to completely replace your property, is then determined based on market value and the contents of your home. For older homes, replacement cost is often higher due to historic, antique, or specialty materials that may be required to restore your home, which may result in higher premiums for homeowners.  

Coverage Options for Old Homes

There are multiple options for insuring older homes

Basic Form (HO1)

The simplest and least comprehensive category of homeowners insurance is called Basic Form, or type HO1 home insurance. This coverage protects against a few general categories of risks your home may endure including:

  • Fire and/or smoke
  • Explosions
  • Lightning
  • Hail/Windstorms
  • Theft/Vandalism
  • Damage from Vehicles
  • Riot or commotion

Basic form insurance policies usually only include dwelling protection, not personal property coverage. This may be added as supplemental coverage with some insurance companies. Basic form insurance is often not considered fully adequate by mortgage companies, so if you’re financing your home, this may not be an option, however, basic form homeowners insurance may suffice for some owners of older homes., 

Old Home Form (HO8)

Since older homes were generally built on less stringent code standards than newer ones, insurance companies have created an entire specialized category to classify old homestype HO8. Type HO8 home insurance policies often only cover basic perils, similar to those listed under HO1 policies. Historical homes and landmarks are eligible for coverage under an HO8 category. In some cases, owners of registered landmarks may be barred from making substantial changes to their home’s structures and systems, this is something to consider if you’re purchasing an older home or fixer-upper with the intention of “flipping” it. 

If you’re trying you’re trying to save money on your home insurance (and let’s be honest, who isn’t?), basic coverage for your older home should suffice. For high-value or historic homes though, HO8 policies are the very best, most protective option. 

Special Form (HO3)

Special form phone insurance policies are the most common. As opposed to Basic Form (HO1), which only covers “named perils” (only covering risks specifically listed in the policy), special form home insurance is categorized as “open peril” policies. This means that homeowners are protected from any danger their homes face unless otherwise stated, or excluded in policy documents. Most HO3 policies will exclude the following types of damage:

  • Earthquakes
  • Floods
  • Landslides
  • Nuclear accidents
  • Neglect
  • Mold/fungus
  • Pests
  • General wear and tear

Depending on your specific homeowners insurance company and unique policy, these exclusions may vary. Many times, homeowners of landmarks or historical properties are forbidden from updating HVAC, electrical, and other systems in their homes, which unfortunately excludes them from purchasing an HO3 policy. 

High-Value Homeowners Insurance 

Many older homes, historic or otherwise, will be high-value or above average in value. For owners of old homes valued at more than $750,000, especially those that were built with old-fashioned construction methods, styles, or materials, a high-value insurance policy is recommended. These special policies have a much higher policy and coverage limits than other traditional home insurance policies. If your old home has a high replacement cost or value, you should consider a high-value homeowners insurance policy

Supplemental Coverage Options

Once you’ve settled on the right category of homeowners insurance for your old house, you may want to consider additional coverage options to add to your policies. 

Owners of old homes should consider insurance policies with replacement cost coverage. Guaranteed replacement cost covers the entire cost of repairing a home after an accident, even if it exceeds your policy’s stated limits. It goes without saying that this can be a real lifesaver to owners of high-value old homes after an accident. 

Service line coverage add-ons assist homeowners when repairing damaged service lines after a deductible is already reached. This type of coverage can assist when repairing knob and tube wiring that connect to all kinds of utility systems. 

For old homes with high-value personal property inside, there are special coverage add ons that will ensure proper replacement value is met in case of emergency. Personal property coverage can apply to jewelry, art, and other valuable belongings. 

Old Home Insurance Frequently Asked Questions

How can I save on home insurance for my old home?

If you’re the owner of an old home or considering investing in one, there are a few steps you can take to help you save on homeowners insurance. Stay ahead of repairs and never let inspections run out of date. Look for warning signs in system failures before it’s too late- this includes your roofing and electrical and plumbing systems. Compare home insurance quotes for old houses using Insurify- a free online quotes comparison platform. 

What is replacement cost?

The replacement cost of your home is the amount of money it would take to repair and/or replace everything in your home in the case that it was destroyed in an accident. It is vitally important that your homeowners policy accurately portrays the replacement cost of your home because the actual cash value matters if you needed to do repairs after an accident. 

How do I know I’m getting the best insurance rate on my old home insurance?

Insuring an old home is often more expensive than newer homes, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. If you’re looking for a new homeowners insurance policy to protect your old home, don’t settle for the first quote you see. It's important to shop around and the easiest way to do that is by doing a realtime side by side quote comparison using Insurify. 

Old Home Insurance— Conclusion 

Purchasing an old home will result in high insurance premiums, that you can be sure about. However, that’s no reason to abandon your dream of owning a historic home. Use Insurify to find the cheapest home insurance quote for your old home

Happy Saving!

Protect Your Old Home

See Quotes
Updated June 8, 2020

Jackie Cohen received her B.A. in Global Media and Public Relations from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Currently based in Boston, MA, she works as a content writer for Insurify. An avid globe-trotter and foodie, Jackie spends her spare time adventuring far and near.