Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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Insuring a normal home is challenging enough. But what about insuring a haunted house? Or a bizarre landmark? Or an office building that looks like a big basket? We found five very strange buildings and figured out how much insurance costs for each one. The results may surprise you … almost as much as the buildings!

#1) The Longaberger Building

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The history: Dave Longaberger had a dream. After creating one of the biggest basket companies in America, aptly named Longaberger, he wanted to do something really special for the new offices; he wanted them to look like a basket. Needless to say, people thought he was joking, especially since he had a long history of pulling everybody’s leg. How was anybody going to pull off that architectural challenge?

It turned out to actually be surprisingly simple, but also unique: as you can tell, it was made to look exactly like a basket. They pulled it off by laying down a steel structure, like most office buildings, and then covering it with stucco. And, public relations wise, it’s been a real benefit: Longaberger has gotten coverage around the world for its “unique” Ohio corporate headquarters.

The cost: Your average office building of this size usually costs about $50,000 a year to insure. This, however, is a little more costly, because, for obvious reasons, there are some unusual maintenance costs. Most estimates we got were between $60,000 and a whopping $100,000. The folks at Longaberger politely declined to discuss their costs … but they encourage folks to drop by and take a picture any time they like.

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#2) The Winchester Mystery House

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The history: The Winchester Mystery House is actually one of the more tragic buildings ever erected. Built entirely by Sara Winchester, the window of William Winchester, the seed for this San Jose, CA, building was planted when a grieving Winchester, who’d lost both her husband and her daughter, held a séance and discovered that her family was cursed due to all the guns the Winchester family had made. She was so terrified of the ghosts of those killed by Winchesters settling into her home that she started building and did not stop for almost forty years. The house has plenty of weirdnesses: stairs that go nowhere, everything in multiples of thirteen, bathrooms that aren’t hooked up to plumbing, and -– get this — the only horizontal elevator in the United States. All told, she spent the equivalent of $71 million in today’s dollars building a house that was never completed … especially since all work stopped when she passed and there was no master plan.

The cost: At least $1 million, quite possibly more for home insurance. First of all, the house, as you may have noticed, is massive … and made almost entirely of redwood. It has also suffered a lot of earthquake damage. On top of all that, it’s been operated as a tourist attraction since the 1920s, so liability has to be factored in. Probably more has been paid to insure the Winchester house over the years than was spent to build it … and that’s really saying something.

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#3) The House on a Stick

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The history: Unlike the rest of the houses on this list, this is one you can actually buy and build yourself. Yes, this really exists, although it may not be the most comfortable of digs. The “Single Hauz,” better known as “The House on a Stick,” was inspired by billboards. The house itself is tiny, about the size of a large closet, but it was designed to allow a single person to own a house. The idea is that the post can be anchored anywhere and support this house.

The cost: Surprisingly low, depending on where you build it. The architecture is undeniably weird, but incredibly sturdy. It helps that the house itself is pretty small and fairly easy to repair: you can get one of these insured for as little as $10,000 (OK, that’s a bit high … but c’mon, it’s a house on a stick.) It makes us wonder if the home insurance company will come and inspect your home for insurance purposes or just to see how cool it is.

#4) The Chattanooga UFO House

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The history: This house was built in, of course, 1970, by Curtis W. King, a charming and eccentric man famous in the city of Chattanooga for his kindness and, well, building a big house that looks like a UFO. It even has a retractable staircase, just like any other spaceship.

The cost: Surprisingly, it’s in line with insuring a “normal” house in the Chattanooga area, although the Crye-Leike realtors who sold it for $130,000 in 2008 declined to give us a number. Although we’d imagine the insurance companies want to give it a bit of a looksee before offering any estimates.

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#5) Belcourt Castle

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The history: Look up the term “white elephant,” and you’ll find right next to it a picture of Belcourt Castle in Newport, RI. Built in the 1890s at a cost of $22 million, the original owners designed the ground floor to be entirely stables (you might be familiar with the Belmont family: they’re the ones the Belmont Stakes are named after). The rooms on the second floor were massive, which was odd since the house was only designed to be lived in about six weeks out of the year.

Right from the start, it was cursed: the Belmonts couldn’t move in because the patriarch had gotten mugged in New York City. In the ’40s, the house was sold to George Waterman, who planned to turn it into an auto museum until he discovered zoning wasn’t going to let him. Then, he tried to make it the permanent location of the Newport Jazz Festival. Finally, it was sold to the Tinney family in the 1950s, who started restoring it … and they’re still working on it.

The cost: Easily $5 million. Not only is Belcourt Castle constantly falling apart, it’s also home to millions of dollars worth of antiques, and it’s a museum. It also happens to be a private residence: Harle Tinney, who owns it, also lives there, and will even lead the tours.

Oh, and did we mention it’s haunted? Don’t worry. This doesn’t make it on the weirdest insurance policies.

Good News: Your Home Is Cheaper to Insure

Fortunately, your home is probably much cheaper to insure than these incredibly strange buildings. You don’t have historic value, one-of-a-kind construction, or the possibility of alien abduction for insurance companies to worry about.

Here at InsuranceProviders.com, we make it easy to find cheap home insurance — just enter your ZIP code below for a free quote on the best insurance providers for your home!