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Six Tips for Historic Homeowners

Six Tips for Historic Homeowners
Published by permission of National Trust Insurance Services, LLC
If your historic home were severely damaged, but not enough to declare a “total loss,” does your policy have high enough coverage limits to repair and restore the building? And will your insurance company pay to hire experienced restoration craftsmen if you have a fire? These are questions you need to consider when insuring your historic property. The following are a few tips from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to help lower your insurance costs and check to make sure you have the right coverage.
Increase your deductible. Most insurance companies give significant premium credits for higher deductibles. Nothing jeopardizes coverage availability and price stability quicker with insurers than several small claim submissions. Increasing your deductible to $1,000, $2,500, or $5,000 is a great way to offset the increased premiums associated with insuring your building properly.
Insist on Guaranteed Replacement Cost coverage with an insurance company whose claims philosophy allows for the restoration (not just replacement) of your historic home. This would cover you for the full cost of rebuilding, or restoring, regardless of policy limit. Guaranteed Replacement Cost is essential for full protection. Some insurers no longer offer this coverage, or sell it at 115% or 125% of the policy limit, but it is available. Ask your agent to help you find out who offers Guaranteed Replacement Cost for historic homes in your area.
Consolidate policies with one insurer, when possible, to achieve package discounts, avoidance of coverage gaps, and easier administration, particularly if common effective dates are used.
“Itemize” significant valuable items such as jewelry art, antiques, silver, cameras, and musical instruments on a Fine Arts floater, to avoid policy sub-limits and deductibles, as well as to obtain breakage coverage for fragile articles and agreed value for your valuables. Fine Arts coverage is broadly defined, with most insurers able to include painting, sculptures, oriental rugs, folk art, multi-media art, antiques, and other items of rarity or significant value that do not otherwise have a coverage schedule (such as furs). This coverage is typically very inexpensive to purchase.
Take advantage of credits. Insurers offer many “credits” that lower the cost of insurance for homeowners who have taken steps to reduce risks. Consider installing central station monitored fire and burglar alarms. Credits are also available for buildings in gated communities, that are built or renovated with masonry construction, and that have had system upgrades. “Loss free discounts” may be given to clients who have not made a claim in a specified time period, usually three years.
Purchase “All Risk” coverage on dwelling and contents. Many homeowners’ policies are written on a named peril basis, which provides more restrictive coverage.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) is a privately funded, nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. National Trust Insurance Services is a subsidiary of NTHP.

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