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Insuring a Heritage or Historic Home

Home Insurance

By Viola Wallace | January 24, 2019

Whether your home has a unique connection to our country’s past or it is a relic of a particular era architectural style or uses historic building methods and material in its construction owning a heritage home comes with stewardship. Insuring a home such as this takes a little extra care and consideration to account for the true value of the property as well as the unique construction and materials. Properly evaluating value and coverage is a vital part of this stewardship.

Bylaws and Ordinances for Heritage and Historic Homes

Although the federal government publishes guidelines for the preservation of historic places in Canada it is often up to provincial and municipal authorities to pass bylaws and ordinances in order to protect historical places within their boundaries which include individual residential properties.

These laws outline if heritage properties may be demolished how and if they may be modified the types of materials that may be used and even the methods for construction and restoration. As such insurance premiums may be higher since repair and replacement costs in the event of a claim could be more costly than that of a regular home. Often policies for homes with designated heritage status are placed in with an insurer who specializes in more complex coverage.

Don’t Guess – Call in the Experts to Appraise Your Historic or Heritage Home

To be sure your heritage home is adequately covered start by having anexpert appraise the value. Most insurers will provide an appraiser but you may also request a second independent  opinion.

An appraiser with experience evaluating heritage properties will be able to give you an accurate assessment of the true value of your home and potential future replacement/repair costs which is key to both you and your insurers in order to get the correct amount of coverage. Without adequate coverage you might find yourself having to cover some of the cost of meeting the heritage requirements of your home in the event of a loss.

Additionally an appraiser can help identify any roadblocks to obtaining insurance such as antiquated electrical or plumbing systems that might need to be brought up to code.

Reduce Risk and Heritage or Historic Home Insurance Cost

In any home installing security and safety measures such as alarm systems smoke detectors and home monitoring systems may reduce premiums however this may be especially true for historic homes due to the overall increased value and costs associated with ownership. Not only will these interventions bring homeowners peace of mind but over time the investment will turn into big savings in premiums and mitigate the risk of a loss.  .

Keep Accurate Records

Insurers recommend homeownerskeep an inventory to help document itemsof value should they ever need to file a claim. Heritage home owners should take this one step further. Detailed photographs of the unique historical features may well prove essential in the event of a claim for replacement and also ensures that any repair or replacement work meets the heritage requirements of your building. These photographs and records of maintenance should be stored safely away from the property Bank safety deposit boxes digital records on a drive or saved to a cloud are all smart options.

Ask Your Broker

Understanding insurance coverage can be complicated for anyone adding the complexity of a historic property can make it even more challenging. Don’t go it alone. Ask your broker to help you navigate the right coverage that works within your budget. It’s what they do best!

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