The fact of the matter is that your log home is much different from the standard, conventional stick-built homes. While this means a natural rustic feel and a dream home for many, there are some special considerations that go along with log home ownership.
While the negatives certainly don’t outweigh the positives, they do warrant a bit of consideration. One of the most important concerns for a log home owner is finding adequate insurance coverage. Many log homes require specific consideration by insurance companies, because of their unique construction and their different needs in terms of upkeep, which can make finding a policy that fits your log home a bit more difficult.
So what are a few of the ways that your homeowners policy for your log home will differ from conventional homeowner policies?
Location, Location, Location
We’ve all heard this one before, and maybe you chose the perfect location for your log home. For many log home owners, this means in the middle of the woods or on the edge of a forest. Unfortunately, that’s not the perfect location for insurance companies, making this one of the most common reasons that you may have to take bit longer to find insurance.
If your log home is located in a secluded area, it’s likely that it will be difficult for the local fire department to access it in the event of a fire or disaster. Since only volunteer fire groups usually serve these areas, the risk is that no one will be able to reach the home in time to save it. Combine that with the fact that log homes are considerably more flammable, and some insurance companies could deny coverage for your home if you’re not located near a fire hydrant or within a few miles of a fire station.
Insects and Pests
Termites and other wood-eating pests could pose a threat to any log home. Some come from the soil and munch their way up through both fresh and dry treated lumber, so preventative measures and proper design are paramount. Sometimes, they’ll get to your foundation before you know they’re there, and when they’re not controlled they can take down an entire home.
Most homeowner’s policies don’t need to address this issue as it’s not a major concern for conventional houses. In the case of a log home, you may consider taking out additional coverage or requesting a special clause. While this is likely to cost you a bit more money, it’s better you spend a little bit extra now, rather than have to replace your entire home after you find a termite colony in your basement.
In some cases, log homes may be slightly more expensive to build than traditional homes of an equivalent size. They require a special building crew, and the equipment and materials tend to cost more as well. It may be difficult to find an insurance company, initially, who will cover your home for its full value. You’ll probably have to request a policy higher than the appraisal value to make sure that an entire rebuild is covered, just in case that needs to happen at some point. Alternatively, there are policies that will cover an entire rebuild, regardless of cost, but they tend to be at least 25 percent more than a standard policy.
If you, like many log home owners, went with a wood shingle roof, you might have to search a couple of companies to find someone to cover your home. When you do, it will probably increase your insurance premium slightly, since the wood shingles put your home at a higher risk for fires. If you haven’t built a roof yet, you may consider another option, but if you have already put in your wood shingle roof, plan on spending a little extra on that insurance premium.
Construction Type and Thickness of Logs
Believe it or not, the logs you use can affect your insurance policy as well. Thicker logs, usually bigger than 8 inches in diameter may get you a discount from some companies, since they’re more fire resistant and hold up better to hurricanes and tornadoes. Additionally, if you had a professional crew build your log home, it will be easier for an insurance agent to appraise your home.
If you built your log home yourself, you’ll find it considerably more difficult to find coverage for two reasons: One, it’s hard for an insurance agent to accurately appraise its worth, and two, it will be equally difficult for underwriters to evaluate your performance as a builder. It’s much easier, and likely more cost effective to have someone build your log home for you.
Foundation and Foundation Placement
Depending on how you build your log home, you may or may not have a foundation. Traditional log homes don’t have much of any foundation, which means some insurance companies might not cover claims you have regarding landslide and subsidence. Just make sure to go over this before you take out a policy, and you'll be sure to know exactly what's covered, and what's not.
Additionally, where your home is set can present an issue from an insurer’s standpoint. If it’s on or near a floodplain, close to a tornado, hurricane, or earthquake-prone area, you’ll at least pay more, and it may be in your best interest to take out flood insurance since that isn’t covered in most homeowners insurance policies.
As you may have gathered throughout this article, while not impossible, finding adequate insurance coverage for your dream log home might take just a bit longer than for a conventional home. You do have options though: there are companies that specialize in log home insurance policies, and additionally, many small insurance agencies often offer more personalized service.
In the end, it will take a little bit of searching, and some research to find the right coverage for your home, but when you do have your dream custom log home fully covered, the search will have been more than worth it. The peace of mind that comes with having a home that is well insured is something that can’t be bought.
If you have any questions about your log home, or if you’d like to talk to the log home experts at Timeless Wood Care, just give us a call at (800) 564-2987 or contact us online