Thursday, July 27, 2017

Insurance, Regulations and Laws, oh my!

The past couple weeks have made me feel like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz!  I feel like I was swept up in a cyclone and dropped in the middle of an unfamiliar place.

I live a very simple life.  I follow rules and laws (provided man's laws do not go against God's law).  I do my best to be a good person.

But sometimes, despite those things, rules and laws rear their ugly head and make me realize that I am not doing things quite "right".  This happened almost two weeks ago - we listed our Homestead on Airbnb and on Craigslist.  We got a booking almost immediately and I started reading more about Airbnb (we wanted to be sure to follow all of their rules) and saw information about home insurance...information that made it sound like we would not be protected under normal homeowners.  I made some calls and did some research to find out that the information was correct - if one rents on Airbnb then one is not protected under homeowners.  We needed to get "short term rental insurance" (something I had never heard of, thus never considered).

Short Term Rental insurance is fairly easy to get - if you have a "normal" home (by normal I mean a regular house sitting on a piece of land - the home being less than 100 years old and the land being in a non-flood zone).  The 1765 Homestead is not a normal home.  We have 2 houses on one deeded piece of property and one of the houses is a 252 year old Farmhouse.  And we live in what some insurances consider a flood zone (due to the river being across the street...despite the fact that in the 252 years this home has been here the river has NEVER raised enough to even touch the edge of our property, let alone the house that sits uphill from it...honestly if the Sheepscott river rises enough to flood our house then the world as a whole has a whole lot more problems than if we live in a flood-zone!!).

We hit brick walls left and right when we inquired about insurance.  We thought we found a company that would work with us but they wanted us to replace the chimney in our home - they said it was not safe (it was lined with Supaflu in the 1980's and the underwriter I spoke to had no idea what I was trying to explain...Supaflu is basically an epoxy/glue/concrete liner that goes inside of chimneys to secure them and protect the house).  They wanted me to do a $25,000 chimney replacement.  Nope.  Not only are we not going to replace something that does not need doing, but we certainly do not have a spare $25,000 sitting around!

We finally found a company that will work with our unique situation (instead of trying the national companies that would seemingly be cheaper because of their size, we went with Cheney Insurance, a local agency who understands our area and our unique home situation).  The rate is about $500 more a year than we are currently paying and the policy is not quite as good (but definitely sufficient).  The only drawback is that it has to be paid in full up front.  So we are going to tweak the budget to see how soon we can come up with the money to pay up front, and as soon as the policy is written we can start accepting guests in the Homestead.

Meanwhile we are working on the cottage, getting it ready for us to move back into (we are living in the Homestead right now). I'm eager to get back into it...we lived there for the first 20 years of our marriage and it feels more like my house than the Homestead does (plus it is a 3-bedroom instead of 2-bedroom so I have room for my crafts!!).

Excitement is good, but routine is a bit better when it comes to an old Homestead!

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