Here’s the deal: insuring a self-built tiny house is challenging. I’ve struggled. Others have struggled. Insurance companies don’t know how to categorize our strange, rolling homes, let alone insure them for damage and theft. Luckily, with the popularity of the movement growing, it is becoming easier to find tiny house insurance.
Insuring a Tiny House as an RV
When it comes to tiny house insurance, classification is important. In the past few years, RVIA (or Recreational Vehicle Industry Association) has started classifying tiny homes built by approved manufacturers as “certified RVs.” In the tiny house world, only a few companies are licensed to build RVIA certified tiny homes. The easiest way to determine if a company is certified is to look them up on the RVIA website. If your tiny house is going to be built by a RVIA company, it will be legally categorized as a Recreational Vehicle. Insurance companies understand this classification and it will be easy to secure RV insurance.
But what if you’re not an RVIA approved manufacturer? Well, your tiny home will not be RVIA certified. You can not get an RVIA certification after the fact. The DMV will categorize your tiny house however they please upon registration. For example my tiny house was registered as a “Recreational Trailer” in Illinois and as a “Coach Trailer” in California. These classifications are more difficult to insure.
Insuring a Tiny House as something other than an RV
I have heard of tiny housers finding insurance by categorizing their tiny homes as additional dwelling units, pieces of art, or something else altogether. If you do not intend on traveling with you tiny house, this is a real option because these types of policies are state by state. They will not include travel.
Examples of how others are insured locally:
- Big Lake Tiny House. Michigan based tiny house with local insurance and an annual premium of only $400!
- Runaway Shanty. Connecticut. Insured as a “manufactured home” through local company Archambault Insurance. Read more about their policy here.
My Tiny House Insurance
Back in 2014, when I finished my tiny house, I searched for insurance. It was important for me to get a RV policy since I was using my tiny dwelling for travel. I also needed multi-state coverage, which further complicated my search. Every company would either refuse to insure me or quote some absurd number. Eventually I gave up.
For two years, I put my faith in the liability coverage offered through my truck’s policy. My tiny house was insured as a “tow load” when traveling down the road. Once I disconnected my tiny house from my truck, I had no insurance at all.
Summer 2015 road trip: Flat tire in Alaska
This summer I decided to take another look. I visited insuremytinyhome.com and applied for coverage. After multiple discussions with Darrell Grenz, my insurance rep, I was able to secure a policy that includes travel. I was thrilled!
Do you want details on my policy? I bet you do! My annual premium is $903, which I pay up front to reduce costs. This might seem expensive, but I do have a beefy insurance policy that includes multi-state travel. Also, I can adjust my policy at any time for a lower rate. I believe the average premium for Tiny Houses through this company is $600.
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As with my Tiny House Costs, I’m sharing this personal information because: 1) I think the data should be available and, 2) I want everything to be easier for you than it was for me. Since I just secured this policy, I can’t say whether I’m happy with it or not. I do feel a huge weight lifted from my shoulders. Check back later for a breakdown of my policy
Other articles about this insurance:
*Q&A with Darrell Grenz on Tiny House Insurance
*Article by PAD Tiny Homes on this insurance
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