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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 an old house, 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.

Key takeaways


  • Older homes are typically cheaper to buy but more expensive to insure.
  • An HO-8 policy is specifically tailored to older homes with materials that are difficult to replace.
  • The cheapest home insurance company for older homes is Amica.

How much does home insurance cost for older houses?

The average insurance premium for a home older than 30 years is 75% more expensive than the average rate for a newly constructed home. 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.

Expect to pay at least $1,600 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. 

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Average home insurance rates by home age
Age of Home Average Annual Premium Monthly Premium % Difference
New construction $966 $80 -
10 years old $1,478 $123 +53%
20 years old $1,670 $139 +13%
30 years old $1,694 $141 +1%
40 years old $1,698 $142 +0.23%
50 years old $1,700 $142 +0.12%

Homeowners insurance data methodology

The homeowners insurance rates published in this guide are based on The Zebra's analysis of the cost of home insurance in every U.S. ZIP code. These rates are based on a sample user profile: a 45-year-old married homeowner living in a 2,500-square-foot single-story home built in 2011 with these coverage levels:

  • $200,000 for the dwelling
  • $20,000 for other structures
  • $100,000 for personal property
  • $100,000 for personal liability
  • $1,000 deductible

To generate pricing for particular rating factors, we adjusted the homeowner profile based on common pricing factors used by major home insurance companies. These factors include location, coverage limits, claims record and others.


Insurance companies for older homes

While rates might be higher for older homes, it is still possible to find homeowners insurance with many major and regional companies. Let's take a look at some of the nationwide insurance companies and their rates by home age.

What are the cheapest home insurance companies by home age?

Insurance Company New Construction 10 Years Old 20 Years Old 30 Years Old 40 Years Old 50 Years Old
Allstate $1,033 $1,594 $1,709 $1,755 $1,750 $1,759
American Family $1,422 $2,261 $2,396 $2,405 $2,409 $2,422
Amica $772 $1,089 $1,145 $1,152 $1,152 $1,144
Farmers $1,093 $1,455 $1,606 $1,553 $1,539 $1,516
Nationwide $693 $1,236 $1,447 $1,487 $1,524 $1,542
Progressive $533 $1,355 $1,913 $1,941 $1,884 $1,810
State Farm $885 $1,356 $1,520 $1,524 $1,531 $1,532
Travelers $929 $1,444 $1,671 $1,716 $1,703 $1,692
USAA $706 $1,231 $1,477 $1,484 $1,495 $1,475

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 view older homes as high-risk, 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 with 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 insurance 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. It's important to understand the details of your homeowners policy to make sure you're not underinsured— the Insurance Information Institute[1] offers a handy checklist and is a good place to start 

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.

Types of homeowners policies

Homeowners insurance policies are broken down into six parts: dwelling coverage, other structures, personal property, additional living expenses, personal liability, and medical payments.

  • HO-1 Basic Form policy: The most basic form of homeowners coverage and covers dwelling only. This is an uncommon form but is sometimes used for older homes
  • HO-2 Broad Form policy: This tier covers your home, personal property, additional living expenses and medical payments. It only covers damage from perils that are specifically listed.
  • HO-3 Special Form policy: The most common form of home insurance, HO-3s are open peril policies that cover your dwelling, personal property and liabilty coverage. 
  • HO-5 Comprehensive Form policy: Both your dwelling and personal belongings are covered on an open peril policy, making this tier the most comprehensive coverage type. 
  • HO-8 Modified Form policy: Specifically structured for older homes, this tier protects damages from named perils only. 

Compare home insurance quotes quickly and easily.

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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 a homeowner 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 pipes 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 insurance premium.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Bundle multiple policies with one insurance provider

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.

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Home insurance discounts to consider

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

Zebra tip: Regular home maintenance lowers your risk of major repairs


Another option that may help lower home insurance premiums is by employing regular maintenance to your home and systems. Sturdier material, reinforced or updated systems, and routine checks on your home's ammenities strengthens the quality of your home and can save you in major repairs down the line. 

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.

Make an informed decision: compare insurance rates today.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the cheapest home insurance company for older homes? Chevron down icon
Amica offers the lowest rates on average for older homes. If this company is not available in your state, check out State Farm, Chubb and Foremost Insurance for high-risk homeowners policies.
Can I get homeowners insurance without an inspection? Chevron down icon
In short, no. With so much risk associated with older homes, insurance companies require a home inspection before agreeing on coverages and rates.
How do I find out the cost to rebuild my home? Chevron down icon
When applying for homeowners insurance, it's best to know the cost it would take to rebuild your home in order to set the proper coverage limits. An insurance agent can generally calculate rebuilding costs, or you can hire an appraiser to do this.
RECENT QUESTIONS

Is my fiancé covered to drive my car if she is not listed on my policy?

If she will be driving the vehicle more than once per month then she will need to be listed as a driver on your policy. If she is not listed and involved in an accident while driving your vehicle then you could be faced with a denied insurance claim.
Oct 19, 2016 Chicago, IL

Can the home owner be sued if their tenant caused damage to someone else?

No, the driver/owner of the car would be held responsible. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, you can have the damage to your car covered and you can file a claim on your homeowner's insurance for the damage to your garage door.
Jan 22, 2019 Seattle, WA

How many cars can I list under one insurance policy?

The maximum allowable number of drivers and vehicles that can be insured on any particular car insurance policy will vary by company. While there is no set standard, most insurance companies will allow their customers to insure up to 4 drivers and 4 vehicles on a single policy.
Nov 7, 2016 Virginia Beach, VA

Home insurance liability cover injury on my camper trailer?

There's a couple of things to think about here. It sounds like you have your travel trailer bundled with your auto insurance policy because more often then not your travel trailer needs a separate policy.
Aug 2, 2018 Edina, MO

Kristine Lee photo
Kristine LeeManager, Content and Data

Kristine is a licensed insurance agent who joined The Zebra in 2019 as an in-house content researcher and writer.

She is an authority on all things insurance and covers the ins and outs of auto, home, life and renters insurance. Her specialty is in providing data-backed insights and information to help insurance shoppers make informed decisions.

Kristine's insurance expertise and research have been cited by publications such as CNBC, Car and Driver, Business Insider, Yahoo!, The Balance, Nationwide and Elephant.

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.

  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.

  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.