Benchmark Agency Blog

Texas Historic Home Insurance

San Marcos, TX and the surrounding region has carefully preserved its past. Many residential neighborhoods are designated historic districts with Victorian, Classical Revival and Craftsman architecture built as far back as 1880 through the 1940s. Each lovingly restored and maintained historic home is a treasure, and for that reason each will have unique insurance needs.

The Importance of Historic Home Insurance

At Benchmark Insurance, we understand the insurance needs of historic Texas homes. Historic homes are typically divided into two categories for insurance purposes: those built before 1945 and those built before 1900. Homes built before 1945 probably have some features that are expensive to replace with like materials. However, a typical homeowners policy could be adequate, depending on the home. Any home built before 1900 will likely need a historic home policy that includes restoration coverage and guaranteed replacement cost coverage.

Guaranteed replacement coverage promises that the insurance company will cover the entire cost of repairing or rebuilding a home’s unique historic features back to their original state. It decreases the possibility of your historic home being underinsured. For example, if your historic home is insured for $2 million, but it has a stairway built from a rare wood or other unique and hard-to-find materials, the insurance company will pay for the cost to replace the home to its accurate historical state, even if the cost of those repairs exceed the policy limit.

Likewise, restoration coverage ensures that your home’s original materials—e.g., wide plank floorboards from the 1860s—will be replaced with the same materials and craftsmanship, rather than new materials that simply appear to be old.

A historic home insurance policy should also include extended loss of use coverage, as your historic home may take more time to repair than a typical home.

It is important to work with an insurance company that has historic home specialists who understand how to appraise a historic home and underwrite a historic home insurance policy. Many insurance companies now use advanced technology—such as infrared cameras, moisture meters and voltage testers—to help in the appraisal and underwriting process. In addition, the insurance company will likely do extensive “traditional” research via libraries and historical commissions to aid in appraising your historic home.

The contents of historic homes are also important. According to the National Historic Registry, there are 1.3 million certified historic landmarks in the U.S. In addition to the value of the home itself, many of these historic homes have expensive paintings, jewelry, glass collections, antiques, expensive floor coverings and more that are highly valuable. Historic homeowners will often need high value homeowners policies or some other policy provision that broadens the typical personal property and liability coverage.

Some historic home owners may find that the home is uninsurable if it has safety hazards or unsafe electrical wiring, fire protection, or if the home is used for tours or has a gift shop.

Premiums for historic home policies are usually about 20% higher than standard policies, but the cost is necessary to adequately protect yourself from the costs of replacing hand-carved moldings, stained-glass windows, and hand-wrought door handles back to their original state. In addition, if a historic home is damaged, it will likely need to be brought up to current building codes during the repair process—another hefty expense.

The experts at Benchmark Insurance can help you find the right historic home insurance policy for your home. We have experience working with many historic homeowners, and we work with several insurance companies that specialize in this type of policy. Contact us today to discuss the specifics of your historic home and how we can help you protect it.

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