Island Home Insurance in New Hampshire
Providing Island Homeowners & Property Insurance to New Hampshire Residents
Owning an island home on Lake Winnipesaukee or another coveted lake in NH can be a dream for many. However, it also has its challenges, especially regarding the availability of insurance. Most NH home insurance companies licensed in the state will not even offer a quote on an island home, regardless of what you are willing to pay.
Why is it Hard to get Insurance on my NH Island Vacation Home?
Whether on Bear Island, Cow Island, or any other island on a lake in New Hampshire, you may have difficulty finding insurance for it. This is because many homes are seasonal and challenging to reach.
A branch can break a window and easily be replaced if seen right away, but what if it happens in November and is not seen until the spring? A $250 window pane suddenly turns into thousands of dollars in water damage clean-up. This is a reason big why most insurers will not offer coverage.
How do I get Insurance for My Seasonal Island Home?
Luckily as technology advances, so does the availability of insurance in many cases. We have seen this with many of our insureds with island homes on Winnipesaukee, as monitoring a home is easier with the many monitoring options available right from your phone.
If you have a home in good condition, its significant systems updated (including roof, wiring, plumbing, and electrical), and claims free for the last few years, you should not have difficulty getting insurance for your home. But first, contact a local insurance agent, like HPM Insurance, with offices in Laconia, Bristol, and Southern New Hampshire. They are familiar with the area and can work with a company underwriter to find a policy for your home.
What if I had Insurance on an Island Home but got a Notice of Nonrenewal?
In the past, one insurance company wrote much of the island homes in NH; however, they recently pulled out of the market, causing some panic among island homeowners in New Hampshire.
If you got such a notice, you have options as more companies are offering insurance for seasonal and secondary island homes than ever before. Check with your insurance professional, such as HPM Insurance, for your options. HPM Insurance now has several companies willing to write all types of island homes, from mansions to cabins and cottages.
Can I get Insurance if I Occassionaly Rent out My NH Island Home?
Like insuring island homes, some insurance companies are now offering coverage for short-term rentals through Airbnb, VRBO, or other short-term vacation sites. For more information on this topic, check out How Do I Insure My Airbnb from the HPM blog.
Insurance Advice for Island Homeowners
Be sure that you understand the type of policy you are buying and whether it is written by an insurer subject to the rules and regulations of the NH Insurance Department, known as the standard market (vs. a nonstandard/surplus market.)
If you purchase a policy in the nonstandard market, you will likely have less coverage and be subject to restrictive terms and conditions and a minimum premium. Be sure you ask your agent if a nonstandard carrier writes the policy. If it is, you may need to go to another agent to see if there are other options. Depending on your island home's condition and loss history, it may be your only option, but you should check with other agents to be sure.
What Coverages Does an Island Insurance Provide?
While the exact coverages that an island vacation home insurance policy provides can vary, most policies make a variety of common protections available:
- Dwelling Coverage, which may cover damage to the primary dwelling structure
- Other Structures Coverage, which may cover secondary, detached structures on the property
- Personal Property Coverage, which may cover belongings kept on the property
- Liability Coverage, which may cover accidents occurring on the premises
Sometimes high-value home insurance may be needed if a home's dwelling value is more than $750,000 (not including the land.) This is because standard policies might not provide enough coverage for the primary and secondary structures if there is a lot of customization within the home. High-value home insurance is designed for the more unique homes.
Flood insurance is not typically included in homeowner's insurance and must be purchased separately. Given your home is on an island, you should consider flood insurance.
Other Insurance Considerations for NH Island Homeowner's
Island home insurance provides important protections but is often limited to the premises itself. In addition, the policy generally won’t cover either property or liability risks associated with other items that might be at a vacation home (except for most personal belongings). Therefore, owners of vacation homes frequently need additional types of insurance such as:
- Boat Insurance for owned boats and personal watercraft
- ATV Insurance for owned four-wheelers, golf carts and other small vehicles
- Snowmobile Insurance for owned snowmobiles
- Umbrella Insurance may provide additional liability coverage for personal risks
An insurance agent familiar with home policies can also help evaluate the need for other policies. They can explain what a particular home policy covers and doesn’t and which other insurances might be needed to fill any gaps.
How Much Does Vacation Home Insurance Cost?
Premiums for island home insurance vary between companies as they each have their rating factors, but typically companies look at the following to determine the rate:
- Dwelling coverage
- Condition of home
- Updates to major systems, including roof, wiring, plumbing, and heating
- Claims history
Regardless of cost, there are often several ways that owners can lower their vacation home policy premiums. For example, many insurance companies offer discounts for bundling coverage (e.g., have one company that writes your primary, secondary, auto, boat, and umbrella insurance), installing an alarm, and increasing the deductible.
How Can Vacation Home Owners Get Secondary Home Insurance?
For help insuring an island, seasonal, secondary, or vacation home in New Hampshire, contact HPM Insurance. Our independent agents can help you evaluate coverage needs and find a secondary home insurance policy that meets those needs well.