On the insurance front I’m afraid I have sorta bad news and bad bad news.
Smile. At least I don’t have really really bad news.
Small attempt at humor. Very small.
I have spent the last year searching all over the country trying to find an insurance company that will write typical homeowner’s insurance for a yurt at a reasonable premium, to no avail. In fact, I only found one insurance company that would write a homeowner’s policy on my yurt for any cost, and it had lousy coverage for extremely high premiums. For $75,000 coverage on the yurt itself, $25,000 of coverage on the contents, and $25,000 of liability coverage ($25,000 to liability coverage might as well be no coverage at all. If you ever get sued, that won’t cover hiring an attorney) was going to cost between $3000 and $4000 a year. For comparison, on the same property with the same fire rating my previous house, the one that burned, had $138,000 of coverage on the structure, $90,000 of coverage on the contents, and either $500,000 or $1,000,000 in liability coverage, for a premium of about $900 a year.
Needless to say, I didn’t take their offer.
The only way I can think of to get regular homeowners insurance on a yurt is to not use the word “yurt” when you’re talking to the insurance company, and use one of the insurance companies that does not send an agent out to take pictures of the house, instead, writing the insurance over the phone and through e-mail. Understand, I am not suggesting you lie, I am only suggesting you answer each question truthfully and briefly.
As I said, be truthful but be brief. When you call them you want to ensure your home, not your yurt. You will be asked about the foundation. Answer slab, crawlspace, or whatever, but do not tell them about your round platform or your round deck. You will be asked about the framing. A yurt is, truthfully, a wood frame house, and that is what you tell them, not that the walls are wooden lattice. You will be asked how big your house is. The correct answer is not that it is 30 feet in diameter; it is that it is 706 square feet. As I said, answer every question truthfully but briefly.
There are two questions you will probably be asked that may throw a monkey wrench into this plan. You’ll be asked about siding and roofing material, and there is no way to truthfully fudge on your answer, but you can put as good a face on it as possible. Do not call the side cover and top cover PVC, high tech canvas, or any other common name you may have heard it referred to as. The side cover and top cover of the yurt, at least a yurt from Pacific Yurts, is technically (and truthfully) architectural fabric. The fact that the term “architectural” is in there will not hurt a bit.
If you cannot get homeowners insurance, you have two other options. The first is ensuring it as you would any outbuilding on your property, be it a barn, a garage, or a workshop, and then get contents insurance (commonly called “renters insurance”) on your belongings. In all likelihood you will not be able to get enough coverage on the “outbuilding” to cover the cost of buying and erecting the yurt, but at least you’ll have some coverage. For liability coverage you will have to pick up a personal umbrella policy with whatever limit you think is appropriate and that you can afford a premium on.
The last, and least attractive, option is to self insure on the structure and cover your contents and liability as in the previous example.
Insuring a yurt as a residence is difficult…but yurt living is worth it. I’ve been in my Pacific Yurt for a year now (read about the first year HERE), and if I could go back and do the last year over I wouldn’t change a thing.
Well..maybe I’d cut that pine tree down before it fell.
I’m yurt-experienced, but not an “expert. If you have any observations on the yurt section of JuicyMaters.com (or any other section), please leave a comment…and if you have a question, please ask. Either I’ll have the answer, I’ll get the answer, or another reader here will have an answer.
No observations? No questions? Leave a comment anyway…maybe about what you’d like added to or changed about JuicyMaters. Or maybe even just to say “Hi!”