I read with interest the article by the Herald’s Pamela Knudson on the recent additions to the National Historic Registry. Ms. Knudson correctly notes that being on the registry does not impact your ability to remodel, reconstruct, or do what you wish to the property. However, what isn't told is that being on the Historic Registry, or even a recognized historic district, in North Dakota could now lead you to higher property insurance rates.
My wife and I reside in the Near Southside Historic District in Grand Forks. Last summer, our property insurance carrier dropped us for the sole reason that they found out we were located in a historic district. In other words, if our home was located just a few blocks over, we wouldn't have a problem. As a result of the sudden termination, we had to scramble and purchase new insurance which cost 75% more and provided less coverage.
Knowing that state law prohibits insurance companies from terminating coverage because of a home’s "location" and/or "age," we filed a complaint with the North Dakota Insurance Commissioner. Somehow, apparently, a "historic district" does not meet either of these because they dismissed the Complaint in December and sided with the insurance company. According to my research, North Dakota appears to be the first state that is allowing insurance companies to "single out" historic homes in this manner.
It is an unfortunate circumstance for both consumers and historic preservationists.