We are privileged here in the North Country to have numerous beautiful log homes adorning our lake shores and wooded areas. You may have heard that these homes are harder to insure, and this can certainly be true. Many insurance companies aren’t willing to insure log homes, and when you find insurance, it may be more expensive than if you lived in a wood frame home of similar size.
First, a point of clarification. Not all homes that look like log homes are actually log homes. Log siding often creates a log home look but is not true log construction. An easy way to tell the difference with a casual glance is to look at the corners of the home. If it is a true log home, the logs will extend through the corners. If it is a frame home with log siding, you will see trim boards in the corners. In my experience, you shouldn’t have any issues insuring a frame home with log siding.
But, assuming you do have a true log home, why are many insurance companies unwilling to insure it? Some of it may have to do with the uncertainty of how much premium to charge. With a frame home, if a portion of an exterior wall is damaged, repair is often as simple as replacing a few studs and some pieces of siding. But with a log home, will all the logs on that side of the home have to replaced? Is that even possible without tearing down the home and rebuilding it? And will contractors skilled to work on log homes be a lot more expensive? And if the home does have to be rebuilt, how do they even estimate what that would cost? These are some of the questions that may make many insurance companies walk away.
A common misconception is that log homes are harder to insure because of their increased fire danger. From what I have read and heard, log homes really don’t pose an increased fire risk, especially those with larger sized logs. Common sense would say that it is more likely that a home with 2x4 or 2x6 wood studs will burn to the ground than at a home with logs of an eight to twelve inch diameter. Having said that, there are things in a log home that will burn, and most log homes tend to be located further from their fire department, which does makes them harder to insure.
Once you find an insurance company willing to insure a log home, you might have to pay more to cover it, for several reasons. One reason is that many times a lot of the most competitive carriers don’t insure log homes. Secondly, the distance from fire departments of the average log home also makes it more expensive to insure. A log home may be more likely to feature wood heat, which may also affect insurance cost. An insurance carrier may also not offer its biggest discounts for log homes, due to the perceived increased risk.
Another issue with the cost of coverage is the increased replacement cost. A log home will often cost more to rebuild than frame construction of a similar size. Because standard Homeowners policies largely base their premium on estimated replacement cost, this is going to affect how much it costs to insure the home.
If you own or are buying a log home and are struggling to find good insurance at a fair price, you should talk to an independent agent. Independent agents represent a number of different insurance companies and will normally have options to insure your log home. As an example, here at Pine Country Insurance I represent a handful of carriers who insure log homes and am can usually offer log home owners a reasonably priced policy.
Ken Cobb is owner of Pine Country Insurance and has been active in the insurance industry for over 15 years. Meet Ken.
Coverage descriptions found in this blog are summaries provided for general educational purposes and cannot fully detail the terms, conditions, limitations or exclusions of a specific insurance policy. Please read your policy carefully.