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Insurance for Log Homes

by: Log Home Living Staff | Log Home Living After months of planning and increasing excitement, the trucks rumble up to your site and deliver logs, lumber, windows, doors and various other building materials. The crew unloads the trucks and construction can begin. But what happens if some of those materials are stolen during construction? […]
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by: Log Home Living Staff | Log Home Living

After months of planning and increasing excitement, the trucks rumble up to your site and deliver logs, lumber, windows, doors and various other building materials. The crew unloads the trucks and construction can begin. But what happens if some of those materials are stolen during construction? What if a worker breaks an ankle while working on your home? What if a fire breaks out in your partially finished home?

All these “what-ifs” could keep you awake at night, or you could just make sure you’re protected against them with adequate insurance coverage. Although obtaining insurance for your home before it’s even built may seem unnecessary, you’ll be happy to have it if you should need it.

In the Beginning
Often, people purchase land with the hope of one day building a log home on the property. As a property owner, you don’t need to be overly concerned about insurance. Of course, you could take out a liability policy that would protect you in case someone was hurt on your property, says Alexander Sarno, president of the Log Home Agency. “The reality is 99 out of 100 people never buy it and never have a problem,” he says. In fact, he says, it may be difficult to find an insurer willing to provide you with this kind of insurance, unless you are already one of the agency’s customers.

As soon as construction begins, however, your insurance coverage should kick in, too. “Builder’s risk insurance covers the home and its contents—whatever is on site,” Alexander says. This kind of policy typically covers building materials and the partially built structure from damage or loss caused by theft, vandalism, weather and fire.

The premiums for a builder’s risk policy should be fairly reasonable, Alexander says, because the insurer isn’t carrying the risk of a home at full value. Most lenders will require you to carry this type of insurance before providing you with a construction loan, says Dawn Dangelis, vice president of The Construction Loan Company in Howell, Michigan.

Builder’s risk insurance purchased by the home owner is different than the insurance carried by builders and general contractors. Typically, a professional builder carries insurance to cover his or her staff and workers. Before hiring a builder or general contractor, you should ask to see proof of this insurance coverage.

If you are serving as your own general contractor, you’ll need to check into a few other types of coverage during construction. In addition to builder’s risk and a liability policy, you may need to carry worker’s compensation insurance and disability benefits for workers you employ. Typically, subcontractors, such as a plumbing company, will carry worker’s compensation for their crew members. If, however, you employ day laborers or other assistants to help you (including friends), you may be assuming a liability risk for those workers.

Worker’s compensation will cover benefits for workers who may be injured or disabled while working on your job. Typically, the premiums for this type of insurance are based on the number of workers you employ and what type of work they perform and are paid in advance. You will need to keep careful records of the people you employ and the duration of their work for you. Your insurance company will charge you or refund your money based on these records.

Ready to Move In?
With construction behind you, you’ll need to begin regular home owner’s insurance on your new log home. For years, one of the common myths about log homes was that they were difficult to insure. Today, knowledgeable insurers understand the choice to use log construction should have little impact on a home owner’s ability to obtain insurance.

What factors do affect the cost of insuring a home? “The more a home costs, the more expensive insurance will be,” Alexander says.

Another factor is fire protection. It’s easier to insure a home that “is within reasonable response time from a fire department and not so deep in the woods that it would be impossible for a fire truck to get in there,” he says.

Alexander’s company has been insuring log homes since 1999. He started the company when he began researching log homes to build on a piece of rural property he owned. Along the way, he discovered that log homes are a good risk. “There’s a pride of ownership that leads to impeccable housekeeping and maintenance,” he says. His agency does offer a discount for home owners who build their homes with logs that are 8 inches in diameter or larger. With the heavy timbers found in log walls, he explains, fire tends to smolder instead of bursting into flames, allowing for a longer response time from fire officials. Also, he notes that homes built with 8-inch or larger logs may be better able to withstand windstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes.

One commonly held belief about log homes and insurance does hold true. Generally, insurance companies are wary of homes with wood shake roofs. “They’re not as good a fire risk,” Alexander says.

Setting a Value
How much home owner’s insurance you should carry is a topic to discuss with your insurance agent. Obviously, you’ll want to cover the cost of your home and its contents. Keep in mind that since your land does not carry the same risks for damage by fire or theft, you don’t need to add the value of your property to your insurance coverage.

Liability insurance will protect you if someone is injured at your home. You may need to carry as much as twice the value of your assets in this type of insurance. Talk with your agent about what amount of coverage is right for you.

If you own expensive jewelry or collections, you may wish to purchase a separate rider to cover these items from damage or theft. Keep track of all your possessions by recording serial numbers and creating an inventory on videotape. The list of serial numbers and the videotape should be stored somewhere other than in your home.

If you work from a home office, you may need to purchase insurance coverage for your office equipment. Additional liability insurance may be necessary if clients regularly visit your home office.

Keep in mind, too, that most home owner’s policies do not cover flood damage. You may need to purchase special flood insurance through your agent or through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). For more information on the NFIP, visit www.fema.gov/nfip/ or call the agency toll-free at 888-356-6329.

All told, after doing your research, you’ll be adequately prepared to protect and insure your log home from start to finish—and beyond.

Comment Feed

19 Responses

  1. Allstate has dropped my coverage after 5 years The other quotes I am getting are twice as much. Never a claim after 28 years of home ownership

  2. Cotto States has dropped my log home insurance as of November ’11. I have until May to find more. Not only is the problem being bthat it is for a log home, but also it is a log home in Florida! Citzens wants $3920.00 for comperable coverage…thats’ $2700.00 more bthan I pay now per year! Help! Scott Green,Anthony, FL tideinc@aol.com

    • I have heard from other readers that they have set up policies with State Farm, Farmers, Farm Bureau, Allstate, Progressive, Country Companies and the Log Agency; however, we cannot recommend any particular company. You might also try posting your inquiry on LogHomeU.com, where any of our nearly 5,000 members could give you advice based on their experiences. Best of luck!

      Log HomeMarch 9, 2012 @ 8:26 pmReply
  3. OK, so who is Alexander??? What is his company that insures Log Homes. Why write an article and refer to someone that insures Log Homes and withhold his company and contact information ???
    Pete Moore
    Huerfano County, Colorado

    Pete MooreMarch 24, 2012 @ 7:06 amReply
    • Hi Pete,
      Alexander Sarno previously worked for the Log Home Agency (finkfamilyonline.com/loghome, 877-LOVE-LOGS).

      Log HomeMarch 26, 2012 @ 9:06 pmReply
  4. I’m in Colorado, my log home is 32 years old. Encompass Insurance does not insure log homes now and I just got word that my current insurance, Traveler’s is not going to insure log homes anymore. Looks like a trend to me. If anyone knows of a good company that will insure a log home, I’m looking for one. Thanks,
    Debbie Trujillo
    Elbert County, Colorado

    Debbie TrujilloMay 12, 2012 @ 4:30 pmReply
    • Hi Debbie,
      You might trying searching for relevant information or posting your inquiry on LogHomeU.com, the online social media community for log-home enthusiasts. Best of luck!

      Danielle Taylor

      Log HomeMay 14, 2012 @ 1:56 pmReply
  5. Our Insurance company (Geovera) just notified us they would not renew our log home after insuring it for 4 years. Has anyone found a company that does cover log homes??

    Trudy BladesJune 11, 2012 @ 8:32 pmReply
  6. It seems that very few, if any, insurance companies are insuring log homes anymore. I have tried several independent brokers and they cannot find an insurance company that will insure them at any price.

  7. prudential insurance has my log home and the policy i have found is actually the cheapest. i am also in South Louisiana in hurricane country so finding insurance makes it very hard.

    • Nate, would you have contact info/link for Prudential Insurance? Google didn’t find Prudential Home Insurance…

  8. Foremost insurance will do log homes

  9. Safeco insurance will do log homes but the logs need to be identical, not hand hewn. Thus, homes older then say 1970 are automatically inspected. Likely not written.

  10. I am in Virginia and an Insurance agent. If you need log home coverage in Virginia, contact me. 540-631-0045. Log Home insurance is more expensive. Missy Johnson

    Missy JohnsonOctober 18, 2012 @ 3:10 pmReply
  11. Travelers non-renewed my log home. I live in Colorado Springs, CO. I am an insurance broker. Of all the companies I represent, only Safeco would take on a log home in a forest area, and it was pricey. I pay $2381 per year for $500,000 coverage on a 2000SF log home. This is with a $2500 deductible and a discount for a hail resistant roof. The bigger the home, the more expensive the coverage, because Safeco starts out at approximately $250 per square foot coverage, and up to $400 per square foot coverage for homes over 3000SF. I am OK with what I bought, had another quote for nearly $4000. Adriana Wade, Wade Insurance (719) 272-9912 if you need some guidance or a quote.

  12. It’s truly very complicated in this full of activity life to listen news on TV, thus I only use web for that purpose, and get the most up-to-date news.

  13. I live in South Carolina….Scottsdale insurance co. insures my hand hewn log cabin but it is very expensive….i just got a much better quote from SC Farm Bureau but its not a done deal yet…Bryan

    Bryan StoneSeptember 16, 2013 @ 3:16 pmReply
  14. If you are planning on building in Florida ,and you haven’t started yet–DON’T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Unless you can afford 3000.00 to 4000.00 a year,I on one and Citizens is the only one that will insure one,mine is for sale on the suwannie river

    George E. MorrisSeptember 26, 2013 @ 4:03 pmReply
  15. Bought a policy for my log home through Allstate in Alb. NM. They canceled the policy without bothering to notify me. I found out by accident when I found a credit on my credit card statement. The slogan “you’re in good hands with Allstate” is an out and out lie!!



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