You've built, commissioned, or bought a tiny home. But your cozy dwelling won't feel entirely secure until you get the right protection for it. Unfortunately, insuring your tiny home can be difficult. Because they come in all shapes and sizes, insurance companies have a difficult time figuring out the best category to put these houses in.
If you're looking at insurance options for your tiny home, it will help to come prepared. Let's go over the policies that are available so you can figure out which one would best suit your home.
When it comes to finding a policy that suits your tiny home, the difference is how often you plan to move it.
Make sure you know what you’ll be using your tiny house for before going out searching for a policy. Skipping this step can result in you leaving your tiny house unprotected when danger strikes.
Tiny Homes That Do Not Move – (HO-3 Policy)
Tiny homes that do not move will be classified as needing a standard ISO Homeowner’s Insurance Policy (HO-3). The HO-3 Policy is the same coverage that protects most traditional homes. These policies give optimal coverage to its owners, such as:
- Dwelling – Protects your home from damage, and pays out in the event of a total loss all the way up to the face value of the policy
- Other Structures – Protects any structure that you have attached or detached to the tiny home, such as a deck or a detached garage. Also covers sheds, fences, bike shelters, and many other structures that are associated with your home
- Personal Property – Protects personal items inside the home against damages or items that have mysteriously disappeared that belong to any of the household members
- Additional Living Expense – Protects against the risk of having to live somewhere else while your tiny home is unlivable due to damage or anything else that is covered under the homeowner’s policy guidelines
- Personal Liability – Protects household members against claims arising from allegations of slip and fall injuries on your property. If your mail carrier slips on your walkway and breaks a leg, this is the coverage that will kick in to protect you. Personal liability can also protect the homeowner from allegations of slander or libel
- Medical Payments to Others – Protects a homeowner in the event that an accident happens on their property where they were found to be negligent. This coverage generally pays up to $5,000 to help cover the medical expenses of a third party
Tiny Homes That Move – (RV Policy)
Tiny homes that move follow different procedures. In some cases, insurance carriers will void a homeowners' policies if the house is ever hitched by a tow. If you want to remain covered by your policy, you will need to purchase another insurance option.
If your tiny home is equipped with wheels and you plan to move it frequently, RV insurance provides coverage that might be right for you. Most tiny homes built by professionals are, by law, required to have RV insurance.
The standard RV policy covers the following:
- Liability Coverage – Can protect the homeowner when claims are made against them for property damage or bodily injury while negligently operating their tiny home
- Comprehensive Coverage – Also called “other than collision” coverage, this protection will cover a tiny home for almost any damages that are not a direct result of a collision
- Collision Coverage – This coverage here is self-explanatory: it covers your tiny home from damage caused by something colliding into it while it is being hauled
- Underinsured Motorist Coverage – If someone collides into your home while it is being moved but doesn't have enough insurance to compensate you, this coverage will kick in and pay for the rest of the damages
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage – This will protect your tiny home if someone who does not have any insurance collides with your tiny home while it's in transit
- Medical Payments – This will help pay for medical bills or lost wages if the homeowner or a family member sustains an injury during an auto accident
Tiny homes can be a great option for people who want to travel and explore without having to live out of their cars or blow their savings on hotel rooms. If your tiny home is an RV, a camper, or something you can easily hitch to vehicle, be sure to consider the different terrain and weather conditions you might encounter if you take it across state lines. For example, if your home base is in Nevada but you plan on taking your home up north on occasion, you might want to make sure your policy will cover you for hail damage.
Note that classifications for mobile tiny homes are not standardized across US states. That makes finding the right coverage extra challenging. If you can't find an adequate tiny home policy in your state, ask about getting extra coverage through umbrella insurance (if you plan to leave the country, see Driving to Mexico?).
Whether you bought your tiny home in the hopes of settling in one spot or are planning to rove around the country, you want to make sure that your life plans don't get derailed by some unfortunate event. Take the time to look into your insurance options and get the coverage you need (for related reading, see An Introduction to Mobile Home Insurance).