What to Know before Buying Insurance on a Historic Charleston Home

When you purchase a historic home in Charleston, you will have to make sure you have the right insurance. There are a few things to know to ensure that is the case. A historic home is one that was built before 1945. The unique features and architecture of these homes make them historical and, because of that, they can cost a lot more to restore using methods and materials that are popular today.

Know about Your Home

If your home is on a historic preservation list, then you will be required always to use the original construction materials. Your insurance company may not pay for that unless you pay attention to the coverage you have. An insurance company may not insure your home if it’s on a historic preservation list, so this is an important fact to know.

Replacement Cost

Since historical homes cost more to replace. Things that can change the replacement value include special finishes, law and code upgrades, licensing and permit costs, lead paint removal costs, foundation costs, and original construction replication. Even though replacement costs coverage will be more, make sure you insist on guaranteed replacement cost coverage. This will allow you to cover the full cost of rebuilding your historic home. Some insurers don’t offer this coverage or sell it at a much higher rate, but to protect your historic home, you want to make sure you have this coverage in place.

Replacement costs can be expensive, so Upside Insurance in Greenville, SC says some home insurance companies can’t or won’t provide the coverage needed for potential restoration work. It may be possible to add extended replacement coverage, which will pay for 20 to 30 percent of the insured value of the home. Keep in mind that replacement costs have a cap.

Understand the Claim Settlement Process

Every insurance company has a claim settlement method. Many policies will offer functional replacement costs, which will repair and replace the home with today’s methods. If you are concerned about the historical aspects of the property, replacing with today’s materials will devalue it. This is why you need replacement cost coverage for the home.

Itemize Personal Property of Significant Value

If your historic home has a lot of items of significant value, you should use a fine arts floater. The fine arts coverage is broad but can include paintings, sculptures, oriental rugs, folk art, antiques, and other items that are rare or have significant value, without any other coverage.


Historic homes will require an inspection. To maintain structural integrity, these homes do need some updates over time. According to Live Oak Home Inspections in Charleston, the inspection will check for things like the roof, HVAC system, wiring, and plumbing, to make sure that these items are in good, working order. There is also an inspection to see if there is a special feature of the home that will be expensive to replace and requires the purchase of a policy rider.

Take Advantage of Credits

Historic homes can be expensive to insure, so it makes sense to look for discounts when available. Credits may be available for homes that are in gated communities. It’s best to consolidate policies with one insurer, to avoid coverage gaps and make it easier to achieve discounts.