The older the home, the higher the chances of having to file a home insurance claim. An old electrical or plumbing system is much more vulnerable to being damaged by a covered peril than a system that's been installed more recently. For this reason, home insurers charge higher rates for older homes in order to cover their potential costs.
Fortunately, it just takes a little homework to make sure you're getting the most affordable policy for your older home. If you have a historical home, there are means available by which you can get hard-to-replace materials covered that would be expensive, if not impossible, to get otherwise.
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How much does home insurance cost for older homes?
Looking at five of the biggest insurance companies in New York, a home insurance policy for a house built 60 years ago costs an average of 77% more than a newly-built house.
|Year built||Allstate||Farmers||Nationwide||State Farm||Travelers||Average|
|Data was provided by Quadrant Information Services. Premiums were calculated using rates from New York. Your rates may vary.|
As you can see, how much it costs to insure an older home varies greatly. To make sure you're getting the best coverage at the cheapest price, compare home insurance quotes from multiple providers side by side.
Find the cheapest home insurance for your older home
Insuring a new home vs. an older home
The systems in older homes have a higher risk of an insurance claim on them than a newer-built home. The electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems in an old home are more likely to not be up to current building codes than they are in a more current home, meaning that the construction of these systems are more vulnerable to perils that could result in a claim.
If you update these systems, they'll be built to current code. Insurance companies take note of this, which goes a long way towards reducing your rates more in line with what a newer home would cost you to insure. Other factors, such as your ZIP code and the construction materials used to build the home, will still influence your rate, but getting older systems out of that mix can help save you money.
When updating these systems, keep an eye on the costs involved in their replacement. The price tag tied to the updating is probably going to be higher than what the cost was way back when the original systems were installed. This is going to affect the dwelling coverage you need to have. You'll want to see how much you need to increase your dwelling coverage in order to make sure that your policy is sufficient to replace any systems destroyed by a covered peril. Otherwise, you could wind up paying a considerable amount out of pocket.
What insurance do I need for an older home?
When looking at the coverage you need for your older home, there are some different options to consider to make sure you're getting the best home insurance protection possible. These include:
One of the first things to look at when getting a home insurance policy for an older home is the difference between replacement cost and actual cash value. A replacement cost policy pays out on claims at the full value of the system. Actual cash value calculates depreciation into the payout. With an older home, replacement cost is the more practical option, as older systems will carry less value than an up-to-date system.
The benefit of a replacement cost policy goes beyond the systems in your home. If you have a damaged plaster wall in your home, your insurer may want to replace it with cheaper drywall instead of plaster. With replacement cost coverage, plaster would be used.
Along these lines, it may be in your best interests to consider getting extended replacement cost coverage. When a disaster hits a large region, it raises the costs of construction materials and labor in the area. This can affect the replacement cost you based your original policy limit on.
Extended replacement cost coverage extends your policy limit by usually around 20% to 25%. This will affect your premium cost, but the cost out of your pocket to replace parts of an older house would probably be more expensive.
If you live in what is considered a historic home, there are specialized policies you should consider:
Historic home insurance
If you have a registered historic home, the cost to repair parts of the home with the same materials used in its construction can be high. The price tag connected would make a standard homeowners policy overly expensive.
A historic home insurance policy solves this problem by offering guaranteed replacement cost. Guaranteed replacement cost coverage covers costs associated with repairs or replacement after a covered peril, even if the cost exceeds your policy's limit. Historic home insurance can be expensive, but still be a fraction of what you would need to pay out of pocket for repairs or replacement.
Historic home qualification can vary from region to region. To find out if your home qualifies, check with your state's historic preservation office.
The HO-8 policy is similar to a standard home insurance policy, but it is expressly designed for homes that are 40 years old or older. In some older homes, materials used in construction can be very expensive or obsolete. An HO-8 policy makes it more affordable to repair or replace these materials with more up-to-date ones.
An HO-8 policy pays out at actual cash value for covered perils, however home insurance companies often offer a replacement cost option as an endorsement.
With older homes, you may need to invest in other home insurance coverage, including:
- Water backup coverage: An old sump pump can be expensive to replace in the event of failure due to perils covered in your home insurance policy and may have limited coverage, if any at all. Water backup coverage helps pick up the financial slack in the event of a sump pump overflow or a drain backup.
- Ordinance or law coverage: Replacing an older system will require the new system to be up to current code. This may result in costs that could surpass your policy limits. Having ordinance or law coverage can help cover the costs involved in bringing your systems up to code.
We collected quotes from every ZIP code in New York using the following coverages:
- Dwelling limit: $275,000
- Other structures: $27,500
- Personal property: $137,500
- Loss of use: $55,000
- Liability: $100,000
- Medical payments: $5,000
- Deductible: $1,000
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