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old homeSometimes a house is more than a home. Sometimes it is part of a town's heritage. Historical homes are points of pride to both the owner and the community. As such, insuring historical properties presents several challenges. The Insurance Journal estimates that most landmark historic homes are under-insured because the appraiser lacked the needed knowledge and experience. Before shopping for Manteno home insurance, the owner needs to have the answers to several questions.

Historic Registries:

A home listed on a local, state, or national historical registry is likely to be subject to restrictive covenants as to changing the appearance of the property. Some towns even require approval from the historical society to change something as simple as the color of the trim.  The owner needs to know what control the registry or historical society will impose (such as approval of plans or colors) on any significant repairs or rebuilds. Of critical importance is whether the registry will require repair with period materials or allow reproduction.

Restoration versus Replacement:

House Logic, by the National Association of Realtors, warns that while a typical insurance policy will give options to insure for replacement value, the owner needs to ask if it will cover restoration or replication of period materials, such as wide-plank tongue-and-groove flooring or ornate plaster cornices. In a common home, a replacement floor is plywood and floor covering. In a historical home, it can be a work of art. 
Professional appraisers estimate that repairing or rebuilding with historically accurate materials adds a minimum of 20 percent to the price. In larger structures, such as Victorian mansions, restoration costs can easily be double per square foot over a conventional home. 

Exterior Features:

Historic properties often have elaborate and ornate fencing and outbuildings. The owner needs to document and take those features into consideration when looking at insurance. 

Even with the special needs of a historical property, insurance doesn't have to be any more difficult than figuring out the closet space in a Victorian. Both take planning. 

The owner's best asset in getting the right insurance for their painted lady is to thoroughly document the property with photos and records. To do the best job, a professional insurance agent will need to know the registry information and if there are any restrictive covenants on the property. Also, any knowledge about the building's history and construction (Have there been previous fires? Has the electrical been updated? Does it still have the original lath and plaster walls?) will help an agent make and expert assessment and match the owner with the right insurance company. Call HomeStar Insurance Services today at 815-468-8763 to speak to an agent about safeguarding your historical treasure for the next generation.

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