What do I need for my tiny house insurance in Pennsylvania?

Tiny house insurance in PA is required at construction and throughout its entire lifespan. Receive RVIA certification to qualify for RV and auto insurance during towing, or if you want to frequently relocate your tiny house.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Tiny house living still requires you to carry an insurance policy
  • Pennsylvania has limits for how much insurance you need for your home and vehicle
  • Insurance for your tiny home will be different depending on how you build your home


Living off the grid is one of the biggest draws to tiny houses. Most people who live in tiny houses want to save money by living off the grid, living away from the norms of society and living in something that is not packed with useless stuff.

While building your tiny house can be exciting, it is important to not leave insurance out of the equation. Make sure you shop around and compare coverage with our free quote tool above! 

Coverage during Construction

The most common insurance policy you will find for construction is one that protects your materials. It will protect them if they are stolen, damaged by a natural cause or have faults in them that are not due to manufacturer neglect.

DIY

Many tiny homeowners choose to DIY their tiny home. The majority of the process will be simple and will not require you to be certified in anything, but it is important you have your electrical work done by someone who is certified in Pennsylvania.

This certification will help protect you from outages, shorts and serious harm that can come from faulty electrical work. Pennsylvania requires an electrician to be certified in the county they are working in.

If you are going to build your tiny house yourself, you will need building material insurance. Consider getting yourself NOAH certified so your home will be eligible for different insurance benefits.

The certification process is simple and most DIY-ers find it is helpful for other areas of their tiny house living.

Professional Tiny House Builder

As tiny houses become more popular, there are more options for those who want to hire a builder. Tiny house builders are professional in what they do because they have been working to come up with plans for tiny houses and because they are certified.

Each builder may carry a different certification, but there are some things you should be looking for in the builder you hire. If you want to get all the benefits that come with having an RV, you can choose a builder who is RVIA certified.

Your tiny home will become an RV in name and that will help you insure it. It will also help you find other areas to park it as some locations have restrictions on tiny houses.

Hiring an RVIA builder may be more costly up front, but it will help you save money over a period of time.Whether you are hiring an RVIA builder or not, always find a builder that is covered by their own insurance policy.

Pennsylvania allows builders to be insured and bonded to protect consumers in the event something happens to the property or someone. Always check with your builder to find out what type of insurance coverage they have.

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Coverage during Towing

After you have finished building your tiny house on wheels, you will need to cover it in different ways. You will need to carry a policy that not only protects you but also protects other people in the event something happens while you are towing your tiny house.

Even if you only plan to take it from the place you are building it to the where it is going to sit regularly, you’ll need to cover it with an insurance policy.

RVIA

If you choose to have an RVIA-certified builder for your tiny house, you’ll be able to get RV insurance for your tiny house. This policy will cover everything other than your tow vehicle.

Pennsylvania requires you have collision and liability coverage for an RV so your policy will include that at a minimum. You can also include protection for the things inside of your tiny home when you create this policy.

If you are only planning to live in your tiny house part-time, talk to your insurance agent because the coverage for a recreational residence is often less expensive than for full-time living in a tiny house.

Consider talking to several different agencies that offer RV coverage to get the best price possible. The only requirement Pennsylvania has for your RV is that it is inspected if it has more than two wheels.

You will also need to cover your tow vehicle. While the limits are the same as regular vehicle state minimums in Pennsylvania, adding extra protection specifically for tow vehicles can help protect you.

Non-Certified

If your tiny house is not RVIA certified, you will still need to carry coverage on your tow vehicle.

You will then need to have your agent rework the policy and possibly include a trip endorsement attached to the policy to protect the tiny home. Putting it all together will help you save money, but you will likely pay more than what you would for basic RV coverage.

Not all insurance agents are able to create a trip endorsement on your tow vehicle policy. Talk to several different agents to ensure you are going to be covered and get the best price possible.

Another option that people who have non-certified tiny homes is an inland marine policy. This is a policy that can be used to cover the tiny house, but it will not cover anything inside of the home.

A simple renter’s insurance policy tacked onto your inland marine policy will help you protect the contents of your tiny home. If you are getting renter’s insurance, take your time and itemize everything you have in the home so it will be protected.

Coverage while Parked in Pennsylvania

If you are planning on keeping your home in one place, a homeowner policy may be the best way to go for your tiny home.

With this policy will protect your tiny home while it is stationary, it will not cover the home while you are transporting it or if the home is stolen. It will act only as a typical policy.

In general, a homeowner policy in Pennsylvania will cover:

  • Theft of contents of the home
  • Acts of nature that could damage the home
  • Major damage caused by a flood
  • Valuables that you normally keep in the home (jewelry, etc.)

Most homeowners policies allow you to choose your coverage and pick which things will be covered under the policy.

Different Options for Tiny Homeowners

You can benefit from several different policy options so be sure to talk to your insurance agent about what you can get for your tiny home.

Even if your home wasn’t RVIA-certified, you may be able to get park model coverage on the home if you are planning to let it stay in one location on a regular basis.

Your insurance agent will also be able to help you save money by bundling the policies you need. Shop around to find someone who can put your auto policy together with rental policies and RV policies.

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