Can You Get Tiny Home Insurance?

Can You Get Tiny Home Insurance?

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Tiny houses are popular in part because they don't quite fit the mold of a traditional home, but that also means that regular homeowners insurance usually isn't the right fit for a tiny house. When it comes to insurance, tiny homes can straddle the line between mobile or manufactured homes and recreational vehicles (RVs), and there isn't just one type of insurance that's right for every tiny house.

Your insurance needs, and how much you'll pay, will depend in large part on whether you intend to regularly move your tiny house. And things get even more complicated for people who built the house themselves: If you went the DIY route, you may be best served by going to a specialty tiny home insurance company, which can provide coverage that matches your custom home.

Do I need insurance for my tiny house?

Tiny houses generally aren't required to have insurance by law. However, if you have financed the purchase of your tiny house through a mortgage or another loan, it's possible your lender will require you to get coverage, just as lenders often do for loans on normal homes and automobiles. Most states also require you to have liability coverage on your tiny home while it's on the road, just like a typical RV.

Even if you're not required to get insurance, we still recommend that you purchase coverage for your tiny home. Tiny houses can range in cost from $10,000 to $100,000 to build, so insurance will help you protect your investment. Tiny houses on wheels are especially vulnerable — they're susceptible to theft and are also simply exposed to more wear and tear while moving than a tiny house that stays in one place. What's more, sufficient insurance coverage will give you peace of mind while you enjoy your tiny house.

What kind of insurance should I get for my tiny home?

The type of insurance that's appropriate for your tiny house can change a lot depending on your house's design and size. No matter what policy you get, you should make sure to get coverage for the structure of your tiny home and the property inside it, and liability insurance to protect you financially if someone is injured while on your property.

Insurance for a tiny house that you want to move

If your tiny house is on a trailer frame and you intend to move it more than a few times over the course of owning it, the first option to look into should be RV insurance. This type of insurance can cover homes designed to be regularly moved.

RV insurance plans are available from many national insurance companies and will cover your tiny home while it's parked, as well as while you're moving it from place to place. RV insurance policies cover your tiny house and the property inside it. And since the coverage is designed for homes that move, you're protected whether you're on the road or parked on-site.

However, there are some limitations to typical RV insurance policies that could make them unsuitable for some owners of tiny homes. Most crucially, they usually require the tiny home or RV to be professionally constructed and certified by the RV Industry Association (RVIA). So if you built your tiny home yourself, you may not be able to qualify for RV coverage.

Another issue is that RV insurance is sometimes designed to apply to a vacation home or a place that is not your primary residence. If you intend to live in your tiny house full-time, you may need to get an endorsement or look for a policy that allows you to use it as your primary residence.

Insurance for stationary tiny houses

If your tiny house is permanently installed in a single location, whether it was built at a factory or assembled on-site, your best option is to cover your home with manufactured/mobile home insurance. You may even be able to go this route if your tiny house has wheels, so long as you understand how doing so will impact your insurance coverage.

If you purchase mobile home insurance for your tiny house, the structure of your home will be covered from most perils, and the property inside will be covered as well. You'll also generally receive liability coverage, which protects you financially if someone is injured while inside your tiny home. However, some mobile home insurance has limited fire coverage, given the compact size and the high chance of a fire spreading and consuming the building before it can be contained.

Additionally, coverage for a manufactured home doesn't protect you while your tiny house is connected to your vehicle's trailer hitch or otherwise on the road. Anytime you intend to move your tiny house, you'll need to purchase a travel endorsement or separate temporary coverage, especially if it's not covered by your auto insurance — and tiny houses usually aren't. You'll also need to let your insurance company know every time you move your tiny house to a new location so that it can update your policy accordingly.

Insurance for a tiny house you built yourself

Many people opt for the DIY route when building a tiny house, but doing so can make the home more difficult to insure. Insurers are often hesitant to provide coverage to homes built by amateurs, especially for tiny homes on wheels. As a result, you may have to purchase specialized insurance from an insurance agency that sells tiny-house-specific insurance coverage. Make sure the policy is ultimately backed by a reputable insurance company, such as Lloyd's or Chubb.

Most specialty tiny house insurance agents require photos of the completed house along with pictures of wiring and plumbing — if you can take these during your home's construction, you'll save yourself work later. Some insurers also require a walk-through inspection to make sure the home meets safety requirements.

How much does tiny home insurance cost?

The cost to insure a tiny home can vary dramatically based on the type of insurance you choose to cover it as well as the building's size and value. We collected quotes for three different tiny homes to understand how the size and cost of a tiny home can impact insurance rates.

The average rate for tiny house insurance we found was $852 per year. Overall, the biggest price difference came between purchasing RV insurance and manufactured home insurance, with RV insurance costing 59% more on average.

The size and value of your tiny house have a much smaller impact on your annual insurance premium: A tiny house that's twice as big only costs 14% more to insure.

Graph showing the relationship between the cost and size of a tiny home, and how much it costs to insure

The difference in price between RV and manufactured home coverage is due to the fact that RV insurance protects your home while you move it around the country, which puts your tiny home at significantly more risk than a stationary home. If your tiny home is eligible for both manufactured or mobile home insurance and RV insurance, consider whether the ability to move your home freely is worth the increase in price.

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