Insurance for Older and Historic Homes


It started when Christie’s houseguest was brushing her teeth and absent-mindedly pulled at a piece of wallpaper on a seam that had come unglued. One gentle tug was enough to rip a three-inch chunk out of the brittle, old paper in an obvious spot next to the bathroom mirror.

Christie and her husband Eric soon realized that because the wallpaper was a “vintage” pattern (meaning, “hadn’t been manufactured for more than 20 years”), the wallpaper could not be repaired or replaced and needed to be stripped. However, there were several other layers of wallpaper underneath, and they did not come off easily, which meant that new drywall was in order. When the walls came down, damage to the tiled-over subfloor became apparent, so the floors needed to be replaced, too. But the tile ran contiguously from the powder room all the way through the kitchen. As long as they were ripping out the floor, didn’t it make sense to do that kitchen renovation they’d been thinking about anyway?

Anyone who has owned an older home gets it. One home repair will invariably lead to another…and another…and another. Discovering the mystery of what lies beneath is one of the frustrating joys of owning an older home. Repairing or restoring them properly can be a challenge, too.

This is especially true when an historic home is damaged during a natural disaster, fire, household accident or sewer or drain backup. When that happens, you want your home restored to its original condition as quickly as possible. This is why it’s important to have homeowners insurance with the right kind of coverage to maintain the integrity of the original architecture or period-specific design elements of your historic home.

This often means having higher coverage limits than you might need with modern construction. Sourcing antique furnishings that harmonize with your older home’s style or buying hardwood floorboards in a width that is no longer commonly used can add up.

Your historic home may also require specialized expertise. To match hand-carved woodwork, you may need to hire a master carpenter familiar with techniques from the past. Or your brickwork may require an expert mason who understands that tuckpointing is more than just repairing mortar joints—it is the art of using two contrasting colors of mortar between each brick to create an impression of fine, precise lines.

People who own homes valued at $500,000 or less can purchase homeowners insurance from a variety of companies. But for those with expensive homes, there are fewer insurers that offer coverage limits high enough to pay for costly repairs like those that may be incurred to repair an older home. In addition, a really good insurance company will offer more than money. Kelly Klee’s insurance partners are also connected to networks of architectural and design experts who can advise you on how to get your historic home repairs done right and help you find the craftsmen and others who can do the work properly.

If you are looking for homeowners insurance for historic homes or an older home that is valued at $500,000 or more, give Kelly Klee a call. One of our expert insurance advisers will find out what makes your home unique, get quotes from insurance companies that specialize in this high-end market and put together a recommendation that is personalized to be best meet your needs. You can reach us at 844.885.1600 or by clicking here.

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