Log homes are unique in structure, building materials and even location. As a result, many log homes require special consideration by insurance companies who may or may not be willing to cover them. The problems with insuring log homes stem from the inherent dangers of an all-wooden structure and the variables that such a structure brings into play.
The location of your log home may be the most significant reason for insurance companies to deny coverage. Most log cabins and homes are built in wooded, undeveloped areas where they fit their surroundings and where the materials required to build them are readily accessible. As a result of their locations, many log homes are hard for local fire departments and emergency vehicles to reach. Often, only sparse volunteer groups serve these areas rather than the well-funded and well-equipped fire departments of more developed areas. The risk that no one will be able to reach the home in time to save it and that the home is so flammable due to its construction are key reasons that many household insurers will not consider covering log homes.
Many log homes are more expensive to build than traditional homes of the same size. The materials cost more and the builders charge more to do the work. Once completed, insurance companies may hesitate to insure the property for its full value since that value is higher than traditionally built houses of the same size. You may have to request a policy higher than the appraisal value that the insurance company gives you to make sure the payout amount is sufficient to cover the cost of rebuilding. There are special policies available that cover the cost of rebuilding no matter what the actual cost is, but these policies tend to be priced about 25 percent or more than standard policies.
Wood-eating insects like termites are a constant threat to log homes. They attack both fresh and dry treated lumber and come from the soil upward. They are capable of destroying a foundation or an entire home if not controlled. Since log homes are more vulnerable to insect attack than other types of structures and since homeowner's insurance does not typically cover insect or pest damage, you may want to request a special clause or additional coverage that addresses the potential for insect damage and/or infestation. Anything can be insured if you are willing to pay the premiums and do the research to find a company that will take the risk.
Although it may be difficult to find an insurance company willing to cover your log home, it is not impossible. There are some companies who specialize in log homes and the rural areas where they are most often found. If a small company is in need of customers or wants to fill a niche that the big guys have overlooked, they may be the ones who offer the coverage you need.
Robert Morello has an extensive travel, marketing and business background. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in 2002 and has worked in travel as a guide, corporate senior marketing and product manager and travel consultant/expert. Morello is a professional writer and adjunct professor of travel and tourism.