Log Home Insurance
Questions answered and some insurance buying tips
Brenda Hanson works for Best Rates Insurance Inc. in Kalispell, Montana. As you might expect, there are a lot of log homes in Montana and Brenda’s company has written hundreds of policies on log homes. I actually stumbled upon her company on Facebook and have become friends due to our mutual interests.
Since Brenda has so much experience in this area, I asked her if she would mind answering a few questions about the things to be aware of when shopping for log home insurance. She agreed and here are the answers that will hopefully make your insurance shopping more pleasant.
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Why is it so difficult to insure a log home in some states?
There are many factors. One of the main reasons is because the cost to rebuild in the event of a loss. Also the areas of risk; many Log homes are tucked away in a highly wooded area where the fire danger is higher and fire stations are not close enough to respond quickly.
What mistakes do people make when buying log home insurance?
Rating the home with the true value. I see this happen daily. Many people buy the home and think the value to insure the home is to use the price that they paid for the home. This is not always the correct replacement value of the home. Make sure your agent runs a cost estimator of the home and make sure it is noted whether hand hewn or milled logs. Many carriers do not like to insure handcrafted homes as it is more costly to replace such homes. Also make sure that you are getting a policy with replacement cost not ACV (actual cash value) . There is very little difference in the premium but well worth it in the event of a loss.
Are there things people can do to make a home less expensive to insure?
Yes, make sure that your home is kept up to date with codes and also make sure that your home is clear of debris. Each carrier has things that they have discounts for certain safety devices in the home and also the higher the deductible can makes a difference. However, the higher the deductible the more out of pocket expense you have, which may not always be worth the lower premium rates.
Are there add-ons (riders) that you recommend with log homes.
Yes. I suggest you have replacement cost included instead of actual cash value. There is not much of a difference in the cost and well worth it in the event of a loss. I also recommend water and sewer back up added also.
Does obtaining a policy require a site visit by an insurance agent?
All carriers need to know exactly what they are insuring. Each carrier has a different way they like to do this. Some send out a person to go and take photos. Other carriers require the agent to go and take photos. The third option is to have photo’s sent to the agent from the insured. Additionally, many carriers require a wood stove inspection to be completed if there is one in the home and photos of the stove. Rarely does a carrier have pictures of the inside of the home.
At our agency we prefer that we take the photos and send them directly to our underwriters making sure that they know everything about the home and have everything on file in the event of a loss. This way when replacement cost comes into play there is no doubt about the value of the home. We take on average 35 photos of every home we insure. Most carriers only take pictures of all 4 sides of the home. We believe that the more pictures the better protected our clients and carriers are; the more pictures provide a better record and what you have is noted.
Is your agency licensed to sell log home insurance in all states?
Not at the current time, but we plan on expanding to a few other states very soon. However, we have a carrier that we can write with that as long as they insure your home and autos and everything else along with an umbrella and have 1 million in Liability limits we can write with them with a package so you are only paying one carrier for everything, which many clients that have higher valued homes seem to like.
Are there any tips you can offer people shopping for log home insurance?
Yes! Compare rates with several carriers. I have several and I have seen one carrier quote the same home for $1,800 a year and the other as low as $700.00 a year for identical coverage. Insurance is only as good as your agent.
Check to make sure that you are getting the coverage you need not just at the price you want. Many times I have seen folks pay for something they thought they had and then suffered a loss and discovered they were not covered for that.
Make sure you agent completely explains what is covered and what is not. The best advice I can offer is to ask MANY questions and make sure that you fully understand what your agent is selling to you. Compare carriers and ask your friends and neighbors about how there agent provides service. In the event of a loss you want to know if you can reach someone right away or are you required to call an 800 number having to press option this and option that.
Best Rates Insurance Inc. opened their doors in 2010. After many years in the industry, Brenda-Rosler-Hanson and her Business Partner Siggi Lind Saw a need for a new agency. There are many insurance companies in the valley but none of them operated the same way. We felt that service and dedication to client’s needs was lacking in our area and that is why we chose to open our office and service our clients 24/7. Brenda Takes the time to compare rates with many carriers to make sure she can find the best rate possible even if it means sending you to another agency. Making sure that you understand your coverage and what fits your particular needs to protect your assets is our primary concern. No policy is too big or small we can insure them all.
Brenda K Hanson
Best Rates Insurance Inc.
141 W Washington St
Kalispell, MT 59901