Whether you are buying a barndo or building one yourself, one thing you will need to do to protect it is to insure it properly.
You might assume that insuring a barndominium is much the same as insuring any other home, but that is not necessarily the case.
In this guide, we will explain to you everything you need to know to shop for a barndominium insurance policy.
Can You Insure a Barn Home? (Yes)
Let’s start by addressing the most basic question. Some people constructing a barndo wonder whether it is even possible to insure it in the first place. The answer to that question is “yes.” You absolutely can insure a barndominium home.
Do You Need a Special Type of Insurance for a Barndominium?
Yes, you may need to shop for a specific type of insurance for a barndominium. A regular home insurance policy may not cut it.
“Why?” you might wonder. “Isn’t a barndominium basically just a regular home that happens to be shaped like a barn?”
Well, that depends on the purpose that your barndo serves. It is true—some barndominiums are built specifically to serve just one use (residential). But it is extremely common for barndominiums to be dual-use structures.
The first purpose of most barndos is indeed residential. But the second purpose can vary. For example:
- Storage (i.e. for vehicles, machinery, and more)
- Agricultural workspace
Because of the dual use nature of the barndominium, you need a different type of insurance than regular home insurance.
Believe it or not, a lot of insurance companies simply call this type of insurance “barndominium insurance.”
Again, while most companies will offer you this coverage, some will not.
Those that do not may have a wide variety of reasons for not doing so. Some may not cover dual use structures for whatever reason. Others may not cover converted structures.
Also common are carriers that do not cover buildings with metal roofs or siding, but which might offer pole barn house insurance coverage for homes that do not use those materials.
The reason for that exception where it exists typically has to do with hail.
Note that it is also possible to find a company that offers barndo insurance, but not for all barndos.
For example, they may cover those without metal roofs or siding only.
Where Can You Get Your Barndominium Insured?
Next you are probably wondering who issues insurance for barndos. It should be pretty easy to find barndominium insurance. The majority of insurance companies offer it.
That being said, you will have the smoothest and fastest process getting insured if you choose a company that has a lot of experience with insuring barndos.
Plus, an experienced barndominium insurance company is more likely to be able to properly assess your scenario and offer you competitive and fair rates.
What Does Barndo Insurance Cover?
The exact coverage will depend on your individual policy, but in general, you can expect a barndominium insurance policy to cover:
- The costs to repair damage to the barndo itself.
- The costs to repair or replace certain possessions you store in the barndo.
- The costs you incur renting somewhere while repairing your barndo.
- The costs to treat injuries related to structural damage (for guests visiting your property).
Similar to regular home insurance, barndo insurance does not cover everything. While it may protect your barndominium in case of fire, electrical problems, hurricanes, or other hazards, it generally does not cover damage caused by flooding or earthquakes. You may need additional policies for those, depending on your location.
Also, if you fail to maintain your barndominium and something goes wrong, any claim you make will likely be rejected, since it was your responsibility to maintain your barndo.
That, too, is just like what you could expect from a regular home insurance policy.
Types of Barndominium Insurance
Another way in which barndominium insurance is similar to regular home insurance is in the breakdown of types of coverage. Here are the three main categories.
1. Actual Cash Value
Most people opt for actual cash value insurance for their barndominiums (or other types of homes).
If there is damage to your home or possessions, the coverage you receive will be based on how much the structure or possessions are worth, accounting for depreciation.
Note that this type of coverage only offsets the lost value for your building and property—not the cost of making repairs. So, while it is cost-effective, it is not the most comprehensive policy type.
2. Extended Value
If you want your policy to also cover the cost to repair your home, then you will want to opt for extended value.
Even if the damage to your home is severe, requiring you to rebuild all or part of the structure, this type of coverage will help pay for it.
3. Replacement Cost
At first, a replacement cost policy might appear to be almost the same thing as an actual cash value policy. Like that type of policy, it covers your structure and eligible possessions.
So, what is the distinction? With a replacement cost policy, depreciation is not taken into account when determining what the policy will pay out.
What Determines Your Barndo Insurance Rates?
Now that you know more about the different types of barndo policies, you are probably wondering what determines your insurance rates.
Well, one factor is the one we just discussed. The more comprehensive your coverage, the higher the insurance premiums you will pay.
But there are a number of other factors that also impact your costs when insuring a barn house.
Here are some of those factors:
1. The distribution of your space and usage.
If you have a dual use barndominium, one key factor in determining your insurance premiums is going to be the distribution of your space. How much of it is residential, and how much is dedicated to some other purpose? What purpose does it serve?
It stands to reason, for example, that if a large part of your barndo is a workspace where you will be using potentially hazardous equipment, your insurance rates might be higher.
2. Your relationship with the insurance company.
The relationship you have with the insurer also will play a role in determining your insurance rates.
Do you have a long established relationship with the insurer? If so, your rates may be lower.
Some companies might also offer a discount if you bundle barndo insurance with other types of insurance.
3. Your credit.
The insurance rate you are quoted may be lower if you have a higher credit score, and vice versa.
4. Whether you have filed claims in the past.
Insurers are going to be interested in previous claims you have filed. If you have filed a number of past insurance claims for this property, insurance companies may be leery of writing up a policy for you. That could result in a higher rate.
Indeed, your rates with the same company could increase over time if you file claims in the future.
5. The history, structure, materials and condition of the barndo.
Along with your claim history, insurance companies will look at the overall state of your barndo.
They are going to want to know how old it is, accounting both for both new and original parts of the structure.
Features of the structure itself could impact your premiums, and so could the materials used.
A barndo that is in excellent condition is more likely to fetch competitive rates than one that has not been maintained or upgraded.
6. Your location.
Where you are located could have an impact on the insurance rates you qualify for when covering your barndominium.
For example, insuring a home in one neighborhood may be cheaper than another.
Also, geographical features could have an influence on rates. For instance, if you decide to build a barndominium on a flood plain, you might have to pay higher premiums than you would if you located it somewhere water is less likely to compromise the structure.
7. Security and safety systems.
Did you know that just by setting up a functional security system, you could reduce your insurance premiums? That goes not just for barndos, but for other types of homes as well.
The reason should be pretty obvious when you stop to think about it. If you have a security system in place, it is more likely you will be able to catch thieves and vandals before they can do serious damage to your home or possessions.
Likewise, installing systems like carbon monoxide detectors, smoke alarms, and so forth can help to protect your home and keep your insurance costs affordable.
8. Your deductible costs.
Finally, if you want to find another way to lower the cost of your barndo insurance premiums, consider asking for a higher deductible.
Of course, if you need to actually make a claim, the higher deductible may reduce your benefits—but if you believe your living situation is relatively safe, it might be worth it to you to accept that risk in exchange for lower monthly rates.
Insure Your Barndominium Now
Insuring a barndominium requires that you shop for a different type of insurance that you would for a regular single family home.
But as you can see, barndominium insurance is quite similar to regular home insurance. The types of policies are much alike, as is the level of coverage you can expect for each.
Moreover, many of the same factors impact the rates for which you qualify.
Remember, you should request multiple quotes from different insurance companies when you are shopping for a policy.
You also should take steps to reduce your rates, like raise your credit score, make repairs, and install home security systems. Ready to find your barndominium insurance policy now?