What do I need for my tiny house insurance in Rhode Island?

Tiny house insurance in Rhode Island 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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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...

  • Just because your tiny house doesn’t fall into a zoning requirement in Rhode Island, doesn’t mean you can skip out on the insurance
  • Unless you’re building your house where it is going to sit permanently, you’ll need to invest in insurance for towing it
  • Getting different quotes from insurance agencies will not only help you save more money but will guarantee you’re getting the best coverage possible

Rhode Island, like most states, is working to adjust their laws to fit the growing tiny house community.

While the state does not currently have any official laws on the insurance requirements of a tiny house, there are several things you can do to ensure your tiny house will be protected.

You will be able to protect yourself no matter what you’re doing with your tiny house as long as you have the right type of insurance policy.

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Insuring Your Tiny Home in Rhode Island

If you are going to have your tiny house in Rhode Island, you’ll need different insurance policies. Each of the policies will serve a specific purpose and will be able to protect you for different reasons.

You will need to have the right type of insurance policy if you are going to keep your tiny house in different areas. You’ll also need one while you are building your home so you aren’t held responsible for accidents that happen while you’re building.

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Coverage during Construction

Insurance during construction is crucial in Rhode Island. The idea of having a policy for your building materials makes sense to most people, but many don’t realize they should have insurance to protect themselves from being sued if something happens.

Materials can be a hazard, and a half-built home can also be a hazard, so get insurance to help with the liability you have on the tiny house while you are working on building it.

There are two ways you can have a tiny home built:

  • hire someone to build it for you
  • build it yourself

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Professional

If you are going to hire a professional, you won’t need to worry about getting an insurance policy for the construction phase.

The builder should come with their insurance policy that will protect you if someone gets hurt while they are building your house or if the materials end up damaging someone. Don’t hire a builder unless you have seen proof of their insurance.

Another way to protect yourself is to find a builder who is RVIA certified. The recreational vehicle international association has created guidelines for builders.

As long as they are certified by the association and can provide documentation, you will be able to use your tiny house as an RV. Since there are strict zoning laws in Rhode Island, you will almost always be protected by keeping your RVIA tiny house in campgrounds.

DIY

If you are hoping to save money with your tiny house, you may consider building it yourself. After you have the plans for your tiny house, you’ll need to figure out the right way to make sure you are in compliance.

It is not going to be possible to meet the regulations that are set up for traditional homes, but always have a certified electrician do the electrical work on your tiny house.

Having documentation will not only protect you in the event something happens legally but it will also protect you from injury or death as a result of the electrical work.

Coverage during Towing

As long as you are not planning on keeping your tiny house in the exact location where you’re building, which can often be illegal in Rhode Island, you’ll need to have some insurance on the tiny house for towing purposes.

An RVIA Benefit

Along with other benefits that RVIA certification provides, you will be able to get RV insurance for your tiny house. While RV insurance is not required in Rhode Island, it will protect you if something happens while you are traveling with your tiny house.

It covers the contents of your tiny house along with the following:

  • the outside of your tiny house
  • general liability
  • comprehensive issues

Without Certification

Even if you built your house yourself, there are ways you can insure it for travel.

Try your best to find the best coverage for your situation. This coverage will depend on what you are doing with your tiny house, how often you’re planning to travel and the areas you’re going to travel to.

One of the most popular options is to have travel endorsement added to your policy. This endorsement will not always protect your tiny house if it’s in a collision, but it can provide liability coverage if you are in an accident.

This, combined with a $25,000 minimum liability policy for your tow vehicle should be enough to protect you from being held responsible for damages to another person or property.

Coverage while Parked in Rhode Island

If you’re planning on parking your tiny house in Rhode Island, you need to be prepared with insurance. You’ll need to be covered if you’re:

  • Keeping your tiny house on a piece of land you own
  • Staying in trailer parks or campgrounds
  • Renting land from someone else

Each of these situations will call for different types of insurance. If you are planning to travel and stay on land that someone else owns, you’ll need to protect yourself with renter’s insurance.

If you own your land, you can protect yourself with a homeowner’s policy. The biggest problem in Rhode Island is that you may not be able to stay on land you own because there are zoning laws preventing homes with wheels from being in certain areas, especially in cities.

If you are unable to get your home insured with a homeowner’s policy, consider rental insurance because it can be bundled to save money on your auto insurance policy. Get different quotes to see the best price possible.

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Tiny Home Insurance

Saving money is easy with a tiny house. You will not only be saving money on the major expenses that come with a traditional home or lifestyle, but you’ll also be able to save money on repairs and insurance.

As long as you work to bundle your policies together, the savings can add up to insure your home the right way. Tiny house insurance can cost you far less than a homeowner, and vehicle policy kept separate.

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