Insurance for Your Straw Bale House

Written by Andrew Morrison

Insurance for Your Straw Bale House

House InsuranceFinding a home insurance company willing to insure your straw bale home may be difficult or may indeed be impossible. This is not because they are not worthy of insurance but because many insurance underwriters are operating from a place of fear and ignorance. Many underwriters I have heard from have said they could not write a policy because of the risk of fire yet all of the evidence points to the FACT that SB homes are far more resistant to fire than conventional homes. Below is a link that will take you to a list of insurance companies that you may want to contact including State Farm, Farmers, Allstate, and Farm Bureau among others.

Click on the following link to see a list of companies that can, will, and currently do provide insurance for bale homes. If you click deeper in the website, you may even find the name of an agent in your area who can help you. If all else fails, you can tell the insurance companies that you are building a post and beam home (as long as you are not building load bearing). After all, when was the last time you heard a conventional builder or home owner tell the insurance company that they were building a fiberglass insulation home?

The bales are insulation, nothing more, so don’t tell the insurance company more than they need to know. Having said that, I want to promote the use of straw bales and so I always encourage owners to try and insure the home as a SB home first and only resort to the “less information module” when forced to do so. The more the insurance companies here about straw bale, the sooner they will have to stand up and notice the growing industry.

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15 Responses

  1. Please do NOT believe or do what the above article states. If you are not upfront with your insurance company re the type of house you are building,when you have a claim, the claim will be DENIED. You have just paid all those premium $$$$ for nothing. The coverage will be null and void. Best to be upfront. However, best of luck in finding a company to insure this type of structure.

  2. Insurance companies will do whatever it takes to deny coverage. We all know that. It’s one of the most crooked industries around. My two cents.

    That said, you’re not telling them anything other than the truth. If you tell them you’re building a post and beam home or a post and beam home with cellulose insulation, that is 100% the truth. Like I said, when are you required to tell the insurance company that you are building a fiberglass insualtion home? Never. You may be asked to list the insulation material, maybe, but it won’t make or break the insurance coverage.

    If asked about the insulation, write in cellulose material. If they want more information, tell them straw bales. I am not recommending that you lie. I am recommending that you give them onlywhat they ask for and nothing more. Is there an exclusion on your policy against straw bale walls or some other language that will render your policy useless when called upon? If not, then they have no ground to stand on for pulling coverage if you’re honest in your application. Writing cellulose is an honest statement (

    The problem here is that the industry won’t recognize the FACT that straw bale construction has been independently tested for fire ratings and that is exceeds that of conventional homes. If they would stop creating a misconception about the building material, it would be easier to say “I’m building with bales!!!”

  3. The insurance company’s basis for denying coverage would most likely be due to the “unique” construction rather than the material itself. If the home does not “fit the mold” for their actuarial tables, then they would just be grasping at straws to determine the correct rate to charge. This is why the insurance industry is usually behind the curve when trying to offer coverage for unique structures–not because they are crooked.

  4. The protection offered by building and contents insurance, can cover a valuable home and all of its contents against a huge range of risks, but if you are one of the thousands of people struggling to afford the mortgage that comes with a new house your first home then there are various government initiatives to help, it is not hard to find them.

  5. I’m in the process of trying find construction insurance. The best quote I received was $4300. That’s insane!! Part of the issue here is the lack of adequate information to underwrite said strawbale homes. Not a lack on the part of people trying to insure their homes. I would not have moved forward on my project if there was any doubt that this home is far better than any conventional home. Time to pull your heads out of the sand people!!

  6. Hi Brad. Have you made clear to the insurance company(ies) that there is a viable construction code in the IRC for straw bales? That should make a difference. Further, builder’s risk insurance is expensive. Much more so than mortgage insurance.

  7. The key question is- is there any owner of a Straw bale House out there who is insured for home and contents and where the insurance company knows its strawbale????

  8. Hi Kathy. It depends on your location as each insurance company has different policies, even in different states. Folks have had success with Geico, Uniden, Allstate, State Farm, and others. The key is to ask direct questions so you know what they do and do not cover. Being that SB homes are in the national building code now (IRC Appendix S) it’s hard for insurance companies to give an adequate excuse as to why they would not cover them…

  9. Hi Andrew

    I am considering buying a 25 year old straw bale house in Central Oregon. A previous potential buyer backed out because they were unable to get insurance from a standard admitted (ie state licensed) insurer. I am concerned this problem will limit my ability to sell if needed in the future.

    The home has a lot of deferred maintenance. New roof needed. There is a localized area where moisture readings are 45% and there is an area in garage with visible mold. I am not handy, and not sure how to remediate this.

    However, I do love the location and would like to make this work. Any thoughts for me?

    Thank you so much

  10. Hi Ellen. Insurance can be difficult to find for bale houses, but it’s not impossible in most cases. Different companies cover straw bale houses across the country, and exactly which company will be an option for you in Central Oregon I am not sure. You could try Country Financial, Geiko, State Farm, Allstate, and others. Each of those companies has insured bale houses in Oregon that I am aware of.

    The high moisture readings are indicative of a problem that will need to be addressed. There is some type of water intrusion taking place, so you’ll need to find out where the water is getting in and stop it from happening. Once that is done, you’ll need to dry out the wet areas or remove the rotten straw if it’s gotten to that point. It could be as simply as injecting dry, hot air into the walls through holes in the plaster, or as complicated as removing the bales entirely. I would suggest that neither course of action is a “simple” solution for anyone without construction knowledge, so you will likely have to hire someone to do the work.

    Good luck!

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