Eric Stauffer is a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. His priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

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UPDATED: Oct 9, 2020

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The Highlights

  • Insurance for older homes can be expensive and difficult to acquire
  • Consider your home’s value, including special features of the home, when determining which coverage to choose
  • The cheapest coverage doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the right coverage for you

What policy should owners of older homes consider? How do you find the best home insurance for older homes? Fortunately, there are a lot of companies out there that have made it easy to find the best insurance for old homes by creating specific older home insurance policies.

There is no reason you should have to compromise on coverage or value when choosing homeowners insurance for older homes The best home insurance for older homes can be found at big-name companies.

Older homes can be difficult and sometimes expensive to insure. This is because they present a risk due to older plumbing and electrical as well as the general aging of the building materials.

Even with renovations, it may still be difficult to obtain comprehensive, affordable home insurance for older homes.

This review will offer you a better understanding of insuring your older home as well as provide a quick summary of a few of the best home insurance providers for older homes.

Compare the home insurance quotes for older homes right now. Enter your ZIP into our free online tool to buy home insurance for older homes in your area.

Table of Contents

The Basics of Home Insurance for Older Homes

When it comes to insuring an older home, home insurance companies have lots of concerns. Old homes usually have dated wiring, plumbing, and roofs, which present a higher risk of damage to the home.

Other issues that can cause you to run into difficulty getting insurance are unusual building materials and original appliances or wood stoves. While those last items add charm to your home, the insurance company sees an expensive claim.

These expenses increase with the age of the home. For example, home insurance for a house over 100 years old will be higher than for a home that’s 50 years old. Home insurance rates for older homes will often be higher than for new construction and that will only get worse the older the home is.

What is the average cost of homeowners insurance for older homes?

The average cost of a homeowners insurance policy for new construction is $889 a year. The average cost of insurance for a home that is 30 years old is $1432. As you can see, rates increase quickly with the age of the home.

Expect homeowners insurance for a home that is 100 years old or more to be well above the average, in some cases double.

What policy should owners of older homes consider?

Older homes need the same basic coverage as any other home; dwelling and other structures, liability, and personal property. The dwelling coverage is often the most difficult area.

Some insurance companies will try to insure an older home on an actual cash value policy. We recommend avoiding this at all costs.

While the value of an old home may be lower due to age, the cost to replace such a home is often higher than expected – especially if the home has special, ornate features or is built with unusual materials. It is important to make sure you are insuring your home on a replacement cost basis.

The video below provides further definitions for actual cash value and replacement cost value.

Older homes need extra protection from potential water damage, especially if the plumbing is original. With State Farm, water backup coverage is included under State Farm homeowner’s insurance programs.

Although, for other home insurance companies, water and sewer backup coverage is typically an extra endorsement.

The wiring in your home will be a particular sticking point for insurance companies. Some types of wiring are a high risk of fire, and many insurance companies simply won’t write a policy.

According to ESFi, 33% of homes in the United States are over 50 years old, and their dated home electrical systems result in a very high frequency of fires. So, updating the wiring of your older home is the best way to open up your insurance options.

You may need to go with a specialty insurance company until that work is done, but it will be worth it in the end as you’ll get some of the best house insurance rates for your older home.

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Specifics of Home Insurance for Older Homes

While most older homes, as long as things have been updated, can qualify for a traditional homeowner’s insurance policy, there are some specific situations where a different policy might be needed.

Historic home insurance policies are designed for a home of a certain age and historic value. These specialty home insurance policies provide replacement cost coverage that will protect the dwelling thoroughly, even with expensive materials and unique features.

Some companies, however, will not provide replacement cost coverage for your older home, especially if its features are hard to replace. In this case, you may need to get a modified replacement cost policy instead.

With this insurance for your house and personal possessions, your home insurance company will cover the cost of repairs using updated building materials that are as close as possible to the originals.

This makes getting home insurance on a fixer-upper more affordable and easy.

Specialty (non-standard) policies for older homes that are lower in value and in need of renovation are also available. These homes often do not qualify for standard policies because of their more dated features.

Some of the old house insurance coverage is more limited on these policies. For example, they are often “named perils” which means you are covered only for those specific risks listed on the policy.

Here’s a look at the different types of home insurance policies that are available. An older home policy may be one of several options.

Types of Home Insurance Policies
Policy FormType of HomeNamed or All Perils - DwellingNamed or All Perils - Contents
HO1 Basic FormSingle-familyNamedNamed when included
HO2 Broad FormSingle-familyNamedNamed
HO3 Special FormSingle-familyAllNamed
HO4 Tenant's FormRental dwelling - all typesNot IncludedNamed
HO5 Comprehensive FormSingle-familyAllAll
HO6 Condominium FormCondo, TownhomeAll - internal structure onlyNamed
HO7 Mobile Home FormMobile and manufactured homesAllNamed
HO8 Older Home FormSingle-family older/historic homesAllNamed
DP Dwelling FireSingle-family, rental dwelling, seasonal, vacantNamedNamed
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This type of coverage will give you basic protection if you do not have another choice, but as soon as you get some renovation work done you will want to shop around.

Our Process For Selecting the Best Insurance for Older Homes

Our choices for house insurance for older houses take into account various situations. That means that not every recommendation will be the right choice for every home, but that there will be at least one recommendation to suit every home.

We looked for companies with a very strong reputation, particularly in the case of higher value and historic homes. Because those claims can be very expensive, the ability of the insurance company to pay as well as its reputation for paying is very important.

Of course, our picks for the best homeowners insurance for older homes of lesser value also stand up to the scrutiny of their reputation.

This table shows you the AM Best and Better Business Bureau ratings of the top ten home insurance companies.

Top Ten Home Company Ratings (2019)
CompanyAM BestBBB
State FarmA++A+
AllstateA++A+
Liberty MutualAA
USAAA++NR*
Farmers Insurance GroupAA+
TravelersA++A+
American Family InsuranceAA
NationwideA+A+
Chubb Ltd GroupA++A+
Erie Insurance GroupA+A+
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All of our choices provide replacement cost coverage to make sure your home is rebuilt properly after a claim, as well as provide discounts for making upgrades to your home.

Update an older home so that you get the best old house quotes as you complete the renovation process, includes updating the wiring and plumbing.

Our Top Recommendations for Home Insurance Companies for Older Homes

These top three picks include some of the best insurance companies for older homes. Though these companies are not among the most affordable home insurance companies, they provide home insurance options for every older home – from that beautifully renovated Victorian to a WWI fixer-upper.

Chubb insurance is known for insuring higher-value homes, including historic homes, making Chubb insurance one of the best high-end home insurance companies for older homes.

If you have a higher-value historic home, especially one that has been restored using original materials, Chubb is the company to call. It is a partner company to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, so it has the seal of approval from the experts.

If you are looking for cheap home insurance for your older home, Chubb policies may not fit the bill. However, this company’s policies of home insurance for older properties are of the highest quality, with above-and-beyond coverage that includes replacement cost, loss of use, and more.

The company is also an enormous multinational corporation and has the financial backing and a solid reputation to handle your historic home. Read our Chubb Insurance review for more information about the company.

State Farm Insurance offers homeowners insurance for 100-year-old houses that have been properly maintained. If you need a standard homeowner’s policy for a fairly basic older home that has been kept in good condition, State Farm is a great choice to consider.

State Farm is the second-largest home insurance company in the country with a comprehensive homeowner’s program and a wide spectrum of options.

In offering affordable home insurance, State Farm reviews show that the company always rates highly for customer service and has the financial strength to cover its customers’ needs.

Foremost Insurance makes our list as a pick for those who have an older home that does not qualify for standard insurance. Its specialty homeowner’s insurance does not force you to cut coverage.

Rather, it offers the options of extended replacement cost and actual cash value along with a long list of additional options. These all give you a policy just as comprehensive as a standard package with any other company.

Foremost Insurance is owned by Farmers Insurance Group, one of the biggest insurance groups in the country, and is big enough to give you peace of mind.

You can also get multi-policy discounts not just with other Foremost policies, but with Farmers products as well. Our Foremost Insurance review goes into greater detail.

Your one-stop online Insurance guide. Get a free quote now!

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The Basics of Home Insurance for Older Homes

When it comes to insuring an older home, home insurance companies have lots of concerns. Old homes usually have dated wiring, plumbing, and roofs, which present a higher risk of damage to the home.

Other issues that can cause you to run into difficulty getting insurance are unusual building materials and original appliances or wood stoves. While those last items add charm to your home, the insurance company sees an expensive claim.

These expenses increase with the age of the home. For example, home insurance for a house over 100 years old will be higher than for a home that’s 50 years old.

What policy should owners of older homes consider?

Older homes need the same basic coverage as any other home; dwelling and other structures, liability, and personal property. The dwelling coverage is often the most difficult area.

Some insurance companies will try to insure an older home on an actual cash value policy. We recommend avoiding this at all costs.

While the value of an old home may be lower due to age, the cost to replace such a home is often higher than expected – especially if the home has special, ornate features or is built with unusual materials. It is important to make sure you are insuring your home on a replacement cost basis.

The video below provides further definitions for actual cash value and replacement cost value.

Older homes need extra protection from potential water damage, especially if the plumbing is original. With State Farm, water backup coverage is included under State Farm homeowner’s insurance programs.

Although, for other home insurance companies, water and sewer backup coverage is typically an extra endorsement.

The wiring in your home will be a particular sticking point for insurance companies. Some types of wiring are a high risk of fire, and many insurance companies simply won’t write a policy.

According to ESFi, 33% of homes in the United States are over 50 years old, and their dated home electrical systems result in a very high frequency of fires. So, updating the wiring of your older home is the best way to open up your insurance options.

You may need to go with a specialty insurance company until that work is done, but it will be worth it in the end as you’ll get some of the best house insurance rates for your older home.

Specifics of Home Insurance for Older Homes

While most older homes, as long as things have been updated, can qualify for a traditional homeowner’s insurance policy, there are some specific situations where a different policy might be needed.

Historic home insurance policies are designed for a home of a certain age and historic value. These specialty home insurance policies provide replacement cost coverage that will protect the dwelling thoroughly, even with expensive materials and unique features.

Some companies, however, will not provide replacement cost coverage for your older home, especially if its features are hard to replace. In this case, you may need to get a modified replacement cost policy instead.

With this insurance for your house and personal possessions, your home insurance company will cover the cost of repairs using updated building materials that are as close as possible to the originals.

This makes getting home insurance on a fixer-upper more affordable and easy.

Specialty (non-standard) policies for older homes that are lower in value and in need of renovation are also available. These homes often do not qualify for standard policies because of their more dated features.

Some of the old house insurance coverage is more limited on these policies. For example, they are often “named perils” which means you are covered only for those specific risks listed on the policy.

Here’s a look at the different types of home insurance policies that are available. An older home policy may be one of several options.

Types of Home Insurance Policies
Policy FormType of HomeNamed or All Perils - DwellingNamed or All Perils - Contents
HO1 Basic FormSingle-familyNamedNamed when included
HO2 Broad FormSingle-familyNamedNamed
HO3 Special FormSingle-familyAllNamed
HO4 Tenant's FormRental dwelling - all typesNot IncludedNamed
HO5 Comprehensive FormSingle-familyAllAll
HO6 Condominium FormCondo, TownhomeAll - internal structure onlyNamed
HO7 Mobile Home FormMobile and manufactured homesAllNamed
HO8 Older Home FormSingle-family older/historic homesAllNamed
DP Dwelling FireSingle-family, rental dwelling, seasonal, vacantNamedNamed
Get Your Rates Quote Now

Compare RatesStart Now →

This type of coverage will give you basic protection if you do not have another choice, but as soon as you get some renovation work done you will want to shop around.

Shopping for Older Home Insurance

A lot of older homes can be insured on a regular homeowner’s policy, but before you assume you’re in good shape, make sure to look at the details of the policy.

When shopping for your new coverage, make sure to check for the coverage that is a must. As mentioned above, that means replacement cost coverage and the option to add on extended coverage like water & sewer backup.

Be prepared to shop for home insurance for old houses by having a thorough inspection done of the home.

This way you will be armed with the answers to all the questions the insurance company will have regarding what’s been renovated and the condition of things like the roof, wiring, plumbing, and any original appliances.

Make sure that you are always comparing an apples-to-apples quote. The rates for a named perils policy versus an all-perils policy, for example, are not a fair comparison.

Keep those differences in mind when looking at your options from various companies. Sometimes they will quote you named perils or actual cash value just to make the rate lower, but it does not benefit you in the end.

Your one-stop online Insurance guide. Get a free quote now!

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Best Home Insurance For Older Homes: The Bottom Line

Older homes offer that favorite of all descriptors: character, but it comes with some extra insurance concerns. Make sure you have investigated what type of insurance you will need and what that bill will look like before you start making offers on the older home of your dreams. The cost and difficulty can come as a surprise otherwise.

Ready to compare the best home insurance rates? Enter your ZIP into our free online tool to find the best homeowners insurance for old homes in your area.

Frequently Asked Questions: The Best Home Insurance for Older Homes

Here are a few frequently asked questions about homeowner’s insurance for older homes.

#1 – Is homeowners insurance more expensive on older homes?

Are older homes more expensive to insure? Is homeowners insurance higher on older homes? Yes, usually, but it depends on the home. Typically older homes are more expensive to insure than newer homes.

With a modified replacement cost insurance policy, coverage is far more comprehensive, but it’s also more expensive. This plan is worth considering if you have a higher-value historic home that has undergone restoration.

#2 – What does a homeowner typically insure for the house?

Typically, homeowners insurance covers damages to your home, the property on which your home is located, as well as some of your valuable items within (but not attached to) your home.

If you’re looking to buy cheap home insurance, you’ll probably end up with a basic coverage plan, so it’s best to shop around to find what company fits your needs.

#3 – Is home insurance cheaper on a new home?

Yes. For purchasing home insurance a new home, most home insurance companies offer some of the best property insurance rates.

#4 – Can I get homeowner’s insurance without an inspection?

Yes. Companies providing the best homeowners insurance for older homes (and homes in general) will require an inspection prior to agreeing on coverage rates.

With so much risk for hazards, home insurance companies will need to know if insuring an older home will do more harm than good to cover.

#5 – Who should be listed on homeowner’s insurance?

In order to purchase homeowner’s insurance, companies require the name of the policyholder to be listed. Additionally, the policyholder should be currently living in the home being insured.

#6 – What is the cheapest home insurance company?

Finding the best and the cheapest house insurance company may be difficult, as the best coverage for your specific home will be more expensive. Similarly, the cheapest home insurance company may provide the minimum coverage, leaving you paying more in the event of an accident.

#7 – What is the best homeowners insurance in my state?

Noe all companies operate in every state, so the best home insurance for older homes in Florida will differ from, say New Jersey. State Farm, Chubb, and Foremost Insurance are among the best home insurance companies in NJ. They also offer some of the best, though not the cheapest home insurance, in MA. State Farm, Chubb, and Foremost provide in Florida homeowners insurance for older homes as well.

References:

  1. https://www.esfi.org/resource/understanding-your-home-electrical-system-213