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Choosing the right home insurance for traditional homes can be challenging, but finding tiny home insurance is even more complex. Most companies don't sell tiny-home-specific policies, but it is still possible to insure them. Here's what tiny-home dwellers need to know to find the coverage that's right for them.
A tiny home is a dwelling that is no more than 400 square feet, excluding lofts, according to the 2018 International Residential Code. Some people use tiny homes as their primary residence, while others use them as vacation homes or even rentals.
It is possible to insure a tiny home, but a traditional home insurance policy won't cut it. Most of the time, tiny-home dwellers will need a mobile home insurance policy, but some insurers will cover tiny houses under an RV insurance policy.
Insurance companies are more likely to cover a tiny home if it's certified by the National Organization for Alternative Housing (NOAH) or the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Self-built tiny homes are much more difficult to insure because they may not be as sturdily constructed.
Tiny home insurance isn't required by law if the dweller owns the home outright, but it still makes sense to purchase it anyway. Home insurance protects against all sorts of damage, including severe weather and vandalism, so the homeowner doesn't have to pay for this out of their own pocket.
It also provides protection for the owner's personal property, even if it's damaged or stolen while away from the tiny home. Finally, it offers liability protection. Homeowners can tap this if they're sued by someone else.
The type of homeowners insurance a tiny-home owner needs depends on the type of tiny home they own.
Insurers usually cover tiny homes that remain in one place under a mobile and manufactured home policy. These offer all the basics of homeowners insurance, including protection for the structure and all personal belongings inside. They also offer liability protection for the homeowner.
If a tiny-home dweller decides to move their home, they'll need a special transit endorsement to ensure that the tiny house is covered during the move. It's also worth noting that insurers may refuse to cover these types of tiny homes if the owner moves them frequently.
Tiny homes on wheels that are certified by the RVIA are technically considered to be RVs, so they'd need an RV insurance policy. This provides coverage for the tiny home and its contents while it is moving and while stationary.
However, not all RV policies are the same. Some are only designed for short-term vacation use. Those who live in their tiny homes year-round should look for an RV insurance policy that covers full-time residents.
Tiny homes that the owner built from scratch are the most difficult to insure. Many popular insurers refuse to cover them outright unless they're certified by the NOAH or the RVIA. However, there are some specialty insurers that cover homes without these certifications.
Tiny home insurance premiums can cost anywhere from $400 to more than $1,500 annually. It all depends on the size and construction of the home, whether it's on wheels or stationary, and where it's located. The desired amount of liability and personal property coverage also plays a role.
Homeowners looking to score the best deal on tiny home insurance should compare rates from several companies before purchasing a policy.
Here's a look at some of the best home insurance providers for tiny homes.
American Family offers mobile and manufactured home insurance for stationary tiny homes as well as RV insurance for tiny homes on wheels. Its policies are flexible and come with a variety of endorsements, including some less common options, like a matching siding endorsement and trip collision coverage. However, it only sells policies in a handful of states, mostly in the Midwest.
American Modern is a popular specialty insurer that offers mobile and manufactured home insurance policies to tiny-home owners. It's available nationwide and offers broad and flexible coverage options. It's a great fit for those who don't live in their tiny homes year-round because it offers seasonal insurance policies. Rates on these are lower during the times the homeowner isn't in the tiny home.
Foremost, part of the Farmers Insurance Group, sells both mobile home and RV insurance for tiny homes. It underwrites policies for full-time tiny home residents and includes rare perks, like a diminishing deductible option. It also covers homes with built-in solar panels, which is something many of its competitors don't do. However, it will only insure homes that are either NOAH- or RVIA-certified.
State Farm is a popular traditional home insurer known for its excellent customer service, and tiny-home dwellers can benefit from this as well. They can purchase either a mobile home policy for a stationary tiny home or an RV insurance policy for a home on wheels. Its policies are also available nationwide. But while the company does offer online quote tools for some types of insurance, tiny-home owners must reach out by phone to learn more about its rates. This could be helpful, though, for homeowners who don't know how much homeowners insurance to get.
Strategic Insurance Agency is a little-known insurer specializing in tiny homes. It's available throughout the 48 contiguous United States, and same-day quotes are available. Homeowners can get all the essential coverage options and customize their policies with a variety of extras. Strategic Insurance Agency is also one of the few companies that will insure DIY tiny homes that aren't NOAH- or RVIA-certified. But there aren't many reviews on its customer service, so it's difficult to know how it stacks up to its competitors in this arena.
Yes, many tiny homes can depreciate over time. This is especially true for tiny homes on wheels, as these are technically classed as vehicles and vehicles are known for value depreciation.
Tiny homes are mobile, so it's possible they could be stolen, especially if they're already on wheels. That's why it's crucial to insure tiny homes. In the event of theft, the insurance company can reimburse the homeowner for their loss.
Tiny homes can save homeowners money and give them the flexibility to take their home with them while they travel. But the market for tiny homes is small and they can depreciate in value over time, so they're not a great long-term investment from a financial perspective.
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