What do I need for my tiny house insurance in Missouri?
Tiny house insurance in Missouri is required for construction, towing, and parked tiny homes. Obtain RVIA certification to qualify for RV and auto insurance and receive collision, liability, and contents coverage.
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UPDATED: Sep 15, 2020
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- There are a variety of policies that offer coverage for tiny homes
- You will find more policy options open to you if your home is certified to meet certain building requirements
- Missouri’s limited zoning laws are welcoming to tiny home living
Many prospective tiny homeowners are drawn to the financial freedom and simple living that such a home provides. This new way of living isn’t without traditional issues related to being a homeowner, however.
Your tiny home is an investment that needs to be protected like any other, and that means you’ll need appropriate insurance coverage. Make sure you are covered with our free quote tool above!
Insuring your Tiny House on Wheels (THOW) in Missouri
The THOW industry is growing rapidly and insurance carriers have been working hard to keep up.
These insurance carriers have faced the challenge of insuring a structure that isn’t quite a vehicle and isn’t quite a building with open arms. The results have been an array of insurance policies that can cover all of your needs.
The most comprehensive option if you don’t intend to move your THOW frequently is a tiny homeowner’s policy.
These policies are similar to standard homeowner’s policies in that they offer coverage for liability, structure damage, and content damage or theft. These policies are only in effect when a THOW is parked and don’t provide any coverage during towing.
RV insurance policies provide comprehensive coverage similar to a tiny homeowner’s policy but are in effect when your THOW is being towed.
These policies offer the following coverages when your THOW is being towed:
- liability coverage
- structure damage coverage
- content theft and damage coverage
Insurance carriers have been known to repurpose types of policies as new needs arise. That’s what happened with the way insurance carriers now offer inland marine policy coverage for THOWs.
Originally intended to cover trailers that would transport goods or tools, inland marine policies are now used to offer coverage for the contents and structure of your THOW. They do not typically offer liability coverage.
An important option for coverage during towing is a traditional auto policy. These policies will cover your THOW much like they cover your vehicles by offering liability coverage.
Finally, if you’re looking for a policy that covers damage or theft of the contents of your THOW a traditional renter’s policy might fit your needs.
Insuring Your THOW during Construction
It is common knowledge that you need appropriate insurance coverage for your THOW when it’s parked or being towed.
But many experts agree that you should consider insuring your building materials during the construction of your THOW.
Your home is an investment and it makes sense to protect it every step of the way.
But many experts agree that you should consider insuring your building materials during the construction of your THOW. Your home is an investment and it makes sense to protect it every step of the way.
Constructing Your THOW
Do-It-Yourself (DIY) construction projects have long been a big part of the tiny home lifestyle. DIY construction can give you a sense of accomplishment and can also save you a lot of money.
The decision to build your THOW yourself can raise some additional insurance coverage issues. Luckily you can take steps to mitigate that.
First, it’s always recommended to leave any electrical work to licensed electricians. This type of work can be very complicated and dangerous for anyone without property training.
What’s more, many insurers require that the electrical work in your THOW be certified by a licensed electrician before they’ll agree to insure you.
Another tip to protect your investment is obtaining an insurance policy that covers your building materials.
Theft and fire can happen to anyone and that type of uninsured loss can bust your budget. An insurance policy will keep your budget under control and limit potential unexpected costs.
Finally, it’s important that you obtain certification from the National Organization of Alternative Housing certification (NOAH). NOAH Certification is your way of showing your home was certified to meet basic construction and safety standards.
This certification is useful in that it is a requirement for some insurers to offer you coverage. It also can open doors to additional parking locations around the country.
Having Your THOW Constructed by Professionals
If you aren’t interested in building your THOW you can always turn to a professional. Professionally built homes are more expensive but come with a number of advantages over doing it yourself.
For instance, the builder will be responsible for your building materials and will handle any insurance issues that arrive during construction.
A professionally built THOW also has the possibility of receiving certification from the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). RVIA certified homes have many more insurance options compared to non-RVIA homes.
Coverage during Towing
Missouri law considers a THOW a vehicle when it’s being towed on public roads, and that means your THOW must have liability insurance. The deciding factor on when a THOW is parked or towed rests on whether it is hooked up to the towing vehicle or not.
Once it’s hooked up and ready to move your THOW insurance coverage changes. You’ll need to make sure you have coverage for your THOW in both circumstances.
Getting your THOW insured during towing is easiest if your home is RVIA certified. Insures require your THOW be RVIA certified to be eligible for a comprehensive RV insurance policy. These policies cover liability, content damage and loss, and structural damage.
RV insurance come in two types: full-timer and recreational. Full-timer policies are intended if you are planning on using your THOW as a permanent residence.
Recreation policies are designed for THOWs that are used less regularly. A full-timer policy is generally more costly but the coverage is more robust.
While there are plenty of coverage options for non-RVIA certified homes, none of them come wrapped up in a single convenient policy like RV insurance. For non-RVIA homes, the common practice is to bundle a number of policies to reach comprehensive coverage.
- First, you’ll want an auto policy to cover your THOW for liability.
- Second, you’ll need a renter’s policy to insure your possessions inside the THOW.
- Third, an inland marine policy will provide the coverage you need for any structural damage done your THOW.
It’s possible that your auto insurer will require special trip endorsements any time you move your THOW. Traveling without these endorsements would leave your THOW uninsured.
The best bet on finding an auto policy that provides adequate coverage within your budget and has navigable requirements for moving your THOW is to compare three to four different policies before selecting the best option.
Coverage while Parked in Missouri
Missouri is considered by some tiny house enthusiasts to be an ideal state for parking and living in your THOW.
This is primarily due to a lack of statewide regulations regarding tiny home living and the tendency for lenient restrictions in local municipalities.
While that is primarily the case in small towns, even larger cities like Kansas City have revisited how they interpret their own ordinances to be more welcoming to tiny home living.
As for insuring your THOW, tiny homeowner’s policies are generally the best option for providing coverage to parked homes. Tiny homeowner’s policies provide liability coverage, content coverage, and coverage for structural damage.
Some insurers do have additional requirements before issuing tiny homeowner’s policies. For example, some policies only allow you to move your THOW once or twice or require advanced permission from your carrier.
Other policies will only offer coverage if you make your THOW semi-permanent by removing the wheels and adding a skirt.
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What are your best coverage options?
Before you can obtain the best coverage options for your THOW you’ll want to know exactly how you plan on using it. Your policy needs will vary depending on if your THOW will remain in one place or be constantly moving.
You’ll also need to decide if it will be used as a full-time residence or only seasonally. Once you make these decisions you’ll be able to determine the best policy or policies for you.
Last but not least, when considering different insurance policies you’ll run the risk of missing out on the best policy for your circumstances if you don’t compare three to four policies before you make your purchase. Don’t miss out on our free quote tool below!