Have you experienced this before?  I drove past my childhood home for the first time in years.  I stopped my car across the street and double-checked that I had the correct address.  The house and yard looked so much smaller than I’d remembered.

The house was built in 1962 and had 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, and 1,268 square feet.  For a house that held two parents, three boys, two dogs (and the occasional frog, turtle, and snake), it’s amazing that we didn’t end up crawling over each other more than we did.

But it wasn’t just my memory.  Houses are getting bigger.  The U.S. Census Bureau reported the following statistics for single-family homes constructed in 2014:

  • The median size was 2,506 square feet
  • 45% had four or more bedrooms and 35% had three or more bathrooms
  • The average sales price was $345,800
  • The average price per square foot was $97.09

Over the last 40 years, the median home size has increased by almost 1,000 square feet!  What does this mean for us in the insurance industry?

  • More house to insure. Customers buy as much house as they can afford, but they often forget the cost of insurance increases with the square footage.
  • More hazards. Three bathrooms means three locations where water supply lines, toilets, or showers could cause water damage.  Home buyers should know where the water shut offs are located and whom to call when there’s a problem.  Tower Hill’s water extraction partners can save homeowners headaches in a pinch.
  • New Trends. Tankless water heaters, networked appliances and lighting, USB wall outlets, keyless entry – new features provide homeowners benefits and also change the exposures for water, fire, and theft perils.
  • More maintenance. Having extra space is great, but it requires that much extra upkeep and maintenance on stucco, windows, gutters, and roofing.  Our Loss Prevention brochure can assist new homeowners with tips to keep their home in good shape.
  • Accredited Builder Credit. New building codes have improved construction in Florida.  For houses built by contractors on our Accredited Builder list, customers are eligible for a premium credit.

As building trends change, the insurance industry has to adapt along with them.  Keeping our customers informed and protected is our goal.

Brian Hunt, AIC, CPCU

About Brian Hunt, AIC, CPCU

Commercial Underwriter II
Tower Hill Insurance Group

Brian started his insurance career with State Farm in St. Paul, MN, in 1998. In addition to handling property and liability claims, he served as part of the National Catastrophe Team, following tornadoes, hurricanes, and hailstorms across the country. He made several friends named Charley, Frances, Jeanne, Ivan, Wilma, and Katrina. He moved to Florida in 2009 to manage a catastrophe office in Jacksonville, and because of a girl (now wife) his path led him to Gainesville and Tower Hill Insurance. In his free time, Brian is an Ironman triathlete and also enjoys writing about local and national history.