A tiny house doesn’t always mean a tiny insurance premium. 

Over the last decade, the rise of alternative housing has been undeniable. And the tiny house is leading the way. Hundreds of YouTube channels are devoted to the subject. HGTV has no fewer than two tiny house television shows. According to the folks at Go Downsize, there are approximately 10,000 tiny homes in the U.S. alone, with 700 professionally built homes sold every year. 

But a tiny house has at least one big problem: insurance. Insurance carriers are befuddled as to how to calculate risk and offer meaningful policies. Tiny homes usually don’t fit the criteria of a traditional home. But they aren’t exactly R.V.s either. Insurance hasn’t quite caught up to the trend.

Fear not, tiny home dwellers! We know how to insure that tiny home whether you built it yourself or bought it from a builder. 

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Does a Tiny House Need Insurance?

The short answer: yes. You should protect your home, no matter how tiny, with an insurance product or products. Custom-built tiny houses run anywhere from $25,000 for a 160 square feet modest build to $150,000 400 square feet of absolute luxury. Either way, it’s a big chunk of change to replace or rebuild your home. 

When something goes wrong, your insurance is a safety net. So long as you’ve purchased insurance to cover the peril, you’ll be able to get things back to normal for a low cost. 

What Should Tiny House Insurance Cover?

Hazards abound for any structure, and a tiny house is no different. The coverage you need will depend upon how you built and use your home. Here are the essential components for full-coverage tiny house insurance:

Dwelling Covers the structure of your home if it’s damaged or destroyed by a named peril, also known as a covered risk.
Personal Property Covers your personal belongings like electronics and jewelry.
Personal Liability Covers you if someone hurts themselves in your tiny home.
Transportation Covers your home when you change location. 
Riders These cover anything that the other categories can’t. 

Types of Insurance Products that (May) Cover Your Tiny Home

When you’re dreaming big about going tiny, insurance probably isn’t the first thing to come to mind. But you should think about insurance before you build. That’s because the way you build and use your tiny house affects which insurance products are available to you. 

Below are the best insurance options for tiny home dwellers.

RV Insurance

RV insurance is a good fit for tiny homeowners who plan to move locations often. It’s designed for life on the road and includes provisions that no other option offers. To qualify for an RV policy, your tiny home will need to meet the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) standards. 

Insurance coverage includes:

Collision Covers you if your tiny home runs into something or another vehicle runs into your tiny home.
Comprehensive Covers fire, flood, and hail. May require special riders.
Uninsured Motorist Covers you if your tiny home is hit by someone without car insurance.
Personal Property Covers your personal belongings if they are damaged, stolen, or destroyed.

Notice that personal liability—coverage if someone is injured in your home—is absent. To ensure you’re fully covered, add a renters insurance policy to your insurance plan.

Renters Insurance

Renters insurance is a great way to cover your personal property and personal liability. It’s cheap: the average policy covers about $20,000 of your belongings and $100,000 of personal liability for less than $200 a year. 

But there is one important note: be sure your policy covers replacement costs, not actual cash value. Actual cash value policies are cheaper, but if you lose your belongings, you will spend a lot more money replacing them than what your company will reimburse you for. 

Manufactured/Mobile Home Insurance

Mobile or manufactured home insurance is an excellent option for people who plan to park their tiny home for the long haul. The rise of tiny home communities has made this option more popular in the last few years. Several states, including California, Texas, Colorado, and Florida, have tiny home communities. Most have around 30 homes. The largest boasts 200 units for rent.

Mobile home insurance standard coverage includes:

  • Physical damage
  • Personal liability
  • Personal Property

You can also add optional coverage like a trip collision rider to the policy. You may need to offer

Homeowners Insurance

For a minority of tiny home dwellers, a traditional homeowners policy is the answer. The tiny home must be built on a foundation and meet certain requirements. Those requirements will be dependent upon the insurance carrier

Home insurance policies cover: 

  • Dwelling
  • Personal Liability
  • Personal Property

It won’t cover transportation. This is only important during the transportation of the materials of your home. You can purchase Inland Marine Insurance to cover the contents in transit. Once the home is built to code, you can apply for homeowners policy.

Looking for the best cheap home insurance? Use Insurify. Compare coverage options, discover discounts, and unlock the tiniest home insurance rate around!

Tiny Home Insurance Specialists

There are a few companies out there offering tiny home-specific insurance products. Tiny home insurance can be used to cover most, if not all, perils you face as a tiny homeowner. What’s great about these policies is that they can be tailored to exactly what you need. 

You will likely have to submit inspections for your home, including electric wiring. 

Inland Marine Insurance 

The name might be a little confusing. Inland marine insurance isn’t for boats. It’s meant to cover property and equipment while it’s transported over land. It’s a great way to protect your property, but it does not include personal property. If you decide inland marine insurance is right for you, be sure to supplement your policy with a product like renters insurance. 

Common Problems Getting Tiny Home Insurance

There are a few situations that will make your home more challenging to insure. It doesn’t mean that you’ll have no options, but you will have fewer. And you may be asked to make some changes to your home, like adding fire extinguishers or replacing your electric system. 

Things insurance companies will see as a red flag include:

  • DIY builds by unlicensed/non-professionals
  • Primary or sole source of heating from a wood or pellet-burning stove
  • Several claims in your home’s history
  • Existing damage to your home
  • Poor credit history of the homeowner

Best Tiny Home Insurance By Type of Tiny Home

Type of Home How It’s Used Best Insurance Product
Tiny House with a Permanent Foundation Tiny house is built using a permanent foundation and adheres to building codes. Homeowners Insurance

Mobile Home Insurance

Tiny House on Wheels Semi-Permanent Location Tiny house that is transportable, but won’t be moved to a new location more than once every few years. Mobile Home InsuranceTrip Endorsement

Tiny Home Insurance

Tiny House on Wheels without a Semi-Permanent Location Tiny house that is moved seasonally or annually.  RV + Renters Insurance 

Marine Inland + Renters Insurance 

Tiny Home Insurance

Frequently Asked Questions About Tiny Home Insurance

How do I insure a DIY Tiny House?

A DIY tiny house can cause some problems. But there is an important distinction to make between the way a DIY tiny house can be built: Built by an owner/contractor  Built by owner with contractor supervision Build by owner without contractor supervision You may have already guessed that the first two options are more appealing to an insurance company. But if you are going to build without supervision, be sure to carefully document your process and get it inspected. This is especially important when it comes to electricity. 

Do I need special insurance to move my tiny house?

If your insurance policy does not cover your home in transit, you’ll need to purchase additional coverage. This could be in the form of a rider attached to your current policy. You can also buy specialty insurance known as a trip endorsement.  Be sure that it covers your personal belongings and the structure of your home. And don’t forget to speak with your car insurance agent about how towing your home can affect your insurance. You may also find a competitive rate by bundling your with your auto insurance.

Do I need to insure my tiny house if I don’t live in it full time?

If your tiny home is a vacation home, you may have to find creative ways to meet your needs. However, if your home is on wheels and meets RVIA standards, your best option is to us RV insurance. 

What are the best companies for mobile home insurance?

There are several insurance companies that provide mobile home insurance. The best include: Allstate American Family American Modern (AMIG) Assurant Farmers  Foremost MetLife State Farm USAA Please note that some may use affiliates to offer these policies. And don’t forget to look at multiple quotes for mobile home insurance. Comparison shopping is the best way to get the lowest rate. 

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Updated May 1, 2020

J.J. Starr is a financial copywriter and enjoys helping readers find the information they need. In addition to her background in banking and financial advising, she is also a poet with an MFA from New York University. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. You can learn more at jjstarrwrites.com.