Home Insurance for Older Homes

Older homes come with some special considerations when it comes to homeowners insurance.

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Homeowners insurance for older homes

Beneath the charming facade, appealing architectural features and historic significance of many older homes lies a certain amount of risk that causes insurance companies to hesitate before offering coverage to homeowners. Due to the varying degrees of care or neglect seen in the long term maintenance of old houses, these homes may be cheaper to buy but more expensive to insure than a new build.

Another contributing factor is the added expense of repairing an older home, as essential components like plumbing, wiring, and building materials may not be modern. Some insurance companies may even refuse to insure homes with pre-existing damage to the roof or the dwelling’s structure.

In our guide to finding homeowners insurance for older homes, we’ll cover average costs, coverage options to consider, and the best ways to save money on your premium.

 

How to insure an older home — table of contents:
  1. How much does it cost?
  2. What type of insurance policy covers old homes?
  3. What coverages do older homes need?
  4. How to save on your premium
  5. Additional resources

 


 

How much does home insurance cost for older houses?

The average premium for a home older than 30 years is more than 60% more expensive than the average rate for a newly constructed home. Expect to pay at least $1,400 a year for homeowners insurance and use this data as a jumping-off point in your search; because myriad factors go into home insurance rates, the profile used in our methodology may not align with yours.

Average Homeowners Insurance Premium by Age of Home.png
AVERAGE HOME INSURANCE RATES BY HOME AGE
Age of HomeAverage Annual PremiumMonthly Premium% Difference
New Construction$889$74-
10 Years Old$1,289$10745%
20 Years Old$1,406$1179%
30 Years Old$1,432$1192%


The most substantial increase in home insurance rates occurs once your home reaches 10 years of age. Rates creep up incrementally as your home ages.

See below to see rates by home age and insurance company.

 

AVERAGE PREMIUMS BY HOME AGE AND INSURANCE COMPANY
Insurance CompanyNew Construction10 Years Old20 Years Old30 Years Old
Allstate$910$1,340$1,392$1,401
Farmers$1,244$1,706$1,860$1,860
Liberty Mutual$919$1,357$1,463$1,578
Nationwide$830$1,262$1,414$1,446
Progressive$827$1,468$1,790$1,885
State Farm$848$1,302$1,461$1,463
Travelers$830$1,361$1,476$1,461
USAA$770$1,286$1,534$1,551

 

What are the cheapest home insurance companies by home age?

 

Why are older homes more expensive to insure?

The replacement cost of an older home is more expensive than that of a newer home — even if they have similar market values. This is because old homes incorporate more customizations and special features than new structures, and can be built from antiquated or obsolete building materials (like plaster walls) that are pricier to repair or replace if damaged.

Insurers also view older homes as high-risk compared to newer homes, as they are more likely to be in some state of disrepair, and therefore more likely to suffer structural damage.

For instance, if you’re considering purchasing a historic Victorian home, you’ll need to consider that the cost of replacing electrical systems, plumbing systems, walls and roofing to more modern materials that meet building codes could get expensive. On top of that financial burden, you may have trouble finding homeowners insurance if the home isn’t maintained to your insurer’s standards.

 


 

What homeowners insurance policy covers older homes?

An HO-8 insurance policy specifically covers older homes that are difficult to replace — generally, these are properties where the home’s replacement value exceeds its market value. This is a modified form of an HO-3 homeowners policy for those who own houses that are more than 40 years old. This coverage protects the structure of your dwelling in addition to your personal liability and personal property.

However, HO-8 policies don’t operate on replacement cost — if a special architectural feature of your home is damaged, your insurance company will pay out based on actual cash value, deducting for depreciation in your claim payout and leaving you on the hook to cover the remaining amount of damage.

To guarantee that your historic home is rebuilt fully should disaster strike, you may need to look into high-value homeowners insurance. Insurance companies well-versed in covering high-value properties may also be more familiar with older, historic homes.

Curious to see what you could be paying for homeowners insurance? No matter the age of your home, it never hurts to look and shop around. Enter your ZIP code below to compare insurance quotes, or continue reading to explore coverage considerations and how to save money on insuring your older home.

 

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Home insurance coverages to consider for old or historic homes

The standard coverages included in a home insurance policy may not be sufficient to fully protect an older home — especially if it’s historic or high-value. Below are some coverage options that can typically be added as an endorsement, allowing you to fortify your home insurance policy with some additional coverage.

 

Replacement cost coverage

As previously mentioned, though HO-8 policies cater to older homes, a significant shortcoming of this policy type is that it pays out based on actual cash value which deducts for depreciation. Opting for replacement cost coverage instead is a great start in protecting your home, but homeowners can take it a step further by acquiring guaranteed or extended replacement cost coverage. Guaranteed replacement cost extends your coverage limits to ensure that your home is rebuilt even if the rebuild cost surpasses your limit — which is often the case for historic homes once labor and materials are factored in.

 

Water backup and service line coverages

Another important — but often overlooked — consideration has less to do with your home’s structure and more to do with what’s under it. These in-ground coverages for water backup and service lines could especially come in handy for those who live in older homes, which often have old or crumbling piping and utility lines. The costs of fixing these can get exorbitantly expensive, as the responsibility of maintaining these lines falls on the homeowner.

 


 

How to lower your premium: tips and tricks for saving money on insurance

Homeowners insurance for an older home can get pricey — especially as your property ages beyond 30 years — but there are a few ways you can alleviate the cost. Here are our expert tips on lowering your premium.

 

Get an accurate estimate of your home’s replacement cost

The replacement cost of your home significantly impacts your rate. Reevaluate your insurance needs by having your insurer assess your home’s replacement value every few years. Doing this will ensure that you’re not paying for coverage you don’t need.

 

Choose a higher deductible

Insurance premiums and deductibles carry an inverse relationship: the higher your deductible, the lower your premium. Accepting a larger share of financial responsibility means that your insurer will pay less if you need to file a claim.

 

Be smart with your claims

Knowing what’s worth filing a claim for and what’s not will save you money, time, and hassle in the future. Even having one recent claim on your record is a red flag to many insurance companies.

 

Bundle multiple policies with one company

If you already have an auto insurance policy with one company, consider bundling it with your homeowners insurance. Bundling discounts are offered by most insurers. It’s a great way to easily save some money on your rate and deal with just one monthly invoice for your insurance needs.

 

Home insurance discounts to consider

Discounts vary from company to company. Whichever company you choose for homeowners insurance, make sure to always inquire about discounts. Learn more about common discounts on homeowners insurance.

If you’re still unhappy with how much you’re paying for coverage, don’t be afraid to switch companies. Enter your ZIP code below to compare home insurance quotes from insurance providers across the nation.

Find a home insurance policy today!

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Kristine Lee LinkedIn

Kristine is a licensed insurance agent and one of The Zebra’s in-house content strategists. With a background in copywriting, she covers the ins and outs of the home and car insurance industries. She has contributed to numerous publications focused on the nuances of insurance, including Automoblog, USInsuranceAgents.com, and BestCompany.com.