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Understanding Insurance

How to Insure Your Tiny Home

By: HomeAdvisor

Looking for a way to downsize, live independently, help the environment and save money all at the same time? Tiny homes check all those boxes — which is probably why they’ve become so popular. But before you start selling your furniture or go off the grid, make sure you know the ins and outs of insuring a tiny home.

Why Do Tiny Homes Need to Be Insured?

While tiny homes offer tons of benefits over typical homes, they don’t come without some of the same risks. A tiny home can be a little more vulnerable to storms and other severe weather. But don’t worry — a good policy can make sure you’re protected when the unexpected happens. And an American Family Insurance agent can help you craft a policy tailored exactly to your needs.

What Kind of Insurance Plans Cover Tiny Homes?

Zoning laws and restrictions can make finding a tiny home insurance policy more difficult than it needs to be. Ask your American Family Insurance agent about these types of policies for your tiny home.

Homeowners insurance. Depending on property and zoning laws, as well as your tiny home’s dimensions, it may not qualify for traditional home insurance. However, it never hurts to ask! Your tiny home will have a better chance of qualifying for this kind of insurance if it’s on a permanent foundation and is zoned properly.

Mobile or manufactured home insurance. If your tiny home is on wheels, you might be able to get a mobile home or camper insurance policy. Your agent can provide specifics on your eligibility, the amount you can insure your tiny home for and more.

What States Allow Tiny Houses?

Check your state's specific laws on residential zoning and RVs to find if a tiny home is a viable — and legal — residence. First, find out which category your house falls in: Does it have a foundation or wheels?

A tiny home with wheels. These tiny homes often adhere to RV codes and regulations, which can be less strict than typical permanent home laws. However, you may not be able to get permanent residency with an RV.

A tiny home on a foundation. Your tiny home, complete with a foundation, might have a tougher time becoming a legal residence compared to an RV parked on a rented lot. There may also be restrictions on square footage based on local laws. Check with your county before even considering pouring a slab.

What Does a Tiny Home Cost?

The average tiny home costs around $24,000, while more expensive models can reach $100,000 — still a fraction what a typical home costs. According to HomeAdvisor, they can cost between $20-$400 per square foot, which means that a do-it-yourself build could cost you as little as $3,000. The costs will rise as you increase the square footage, upgrade the features and hire contractors to build it.

Do Tiny Homes Have Plumbing & Utilities?

Tiny homes do often have plumbing and utilities, but your utility options will depend on your tiny home’s location, how sustainable you want it to be and your finances. Connect to city water and sewer if it's available, or get a well and septic system if you're a bit off the beaten path. Want to start living off the grid? Invest in propane appliances, solar power, a composting toilet and greywater system.

Check out American Family Insurance’s homeowners, personal property, RV and manufactured/mobile home coverages to get an idea of what you might be able to use to protect your tiny home. Don’t forget to reach out to your American Family Insurance agent once you’re ready to insure or have any questions — they’re an expert in your tiny home insurance coverage and are always ready to help.

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Related Topics: Insurance Terms , Discounts , Insurance Needs