Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Getting Cold

Frost around Fy Nyth this morning. Crisp crunchy white crystals everywhere. It was still about 22 F. as the sun was rising. Yesterday morning it snowed a little here, but I was at work so I couldn't get a photo of that. The forecast says to expect some more snow today. Winter seems to be starting finally. Pretty late for this area, but I'm ready for some slow snowy days with no outside projects and time to curl and and read, cook more complicated meals, and just relax. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Tiny House Insurance

A little bit ago, I wrote about looking for a new insurance policy for Fy Nyth. (Here) Now I have a new policy in hand and thought I'd give you all an update on what actually happened. 

I have to have insurance since I bought a pre built house with an RV loan from my local credit union. (More on that decision here.) And since they consider it an RV, just like buying any other vehicle with a loan, you do have to carry full coverage insurance until the loan is paid off. So insurance I must have. At least for a few years.

A year ago when I bought my house, there was only one company I could find who was willing to insure my house. RVAmerica. I paid them for a year. Now, a year later, I thought with the movement toward tiny houses taking off, I should look around and see what else is available now. 

So I called lots of insurance companies. Many of the same ones I had talked to a year ago. A year ago, most agents I talked to responded with, "Um, what? I never heard of that. No I don't think we can insure that." This year, it was much different. I got lots of "Oh! Like those cool little ones I've seen on TV! They are so amazing! I'm so jealous, I want one. Let me check if we insure them." So it's encouraging that whatever you think about reality TV, people have at least heard of the idea in a positive light now.

I still got some phone call back though saying, "I'm so sorry, we don't seem to offer policies for those." Or, since I happen to live in the least populated state in the union, "I'm sorry, we do, but we don't offer plans in your state." 

The best options I had in this state seemed to be Darrel at or Farmers. Darrel is the first person offering insurance specifically for tiny homes which is really cool. But he seems very slow to respond to either emails or phone calls, sadly. I did speak to him, but responses were very very slow. Farmers on the other hand was quite prompt. I'm sure different local offices may have a wide range of differences, but I am very happy with my local one so far. 

The agent I talked to went to check on what they offer, and called me back very rapidly. She seemed super excited about the whole idea. Apparently they now have a category called something like "Travel trailers that are stationary and full time residences." They seem to have invented this just to cover tiny houses. Also pretty cool! They do have insurance for collision too, but since I have no plans to move my house anytime soon, I was not interested in paying for that. She told me they have to actually look at and take photos of the house to send to their office. I teased her that they just said that so their agents all get private tiny house tours! ;) In a few hours after I first called the office, she had run home to get her mud boots, was following me back a dirt lane, and hiking up a pretty muddy hill thanks to recent rain, to check out my house. By the next day, she had everything processed and I ran into town to sign the paperwork and saved myself over $300 compared to what I had paid the year before.

Plus, while I never want to have to file a claim, I think Farmers knows what they actually insured. I never really felt that way about RVAmerica. I could have paid more and got coverage for personal items, a lower deductible, or collision as well like I mentioned. But none of those things were important enough for me in my current situation to make me want to pay for them. I'm just letting you know they were possible.

I tried to get as many details from the company as I could to give you all as much helpful info on this as possible. I know there are many others looking for insurance as well. This particular policy was available to me since I have a house built by Tumbleweed and they have an RVIA certification. One of the pluses of having purchased a prebuilt house by a well known name. Of course, it would be way cooler to say I built it myself, but there are some pluses on the other side as well. Famers did need the VIN and RVIA numbers from my trailer. I assume this would have worked if I had a house built by any other RVIA manufacturer. I'm not sure what would have happened if I had a home I'd build from scratch by myself. They may have insured it as well, I'm just not sure. Below is a copy of my new policy, just with some of my personal details blocked out. 

So overall, it looks like the insurance world at least is getting a little more accepting of tiny houses which I think is great. But they are still far from the norm, and lots of companies still don't know how to deal with them. I hope that if lots of us keep calling them and asking to pay them for insurance, they will become more and more aware of the demand for this service and figure out how to better cover them. So keep going! Keep calling! And comment with any info you personally have on this topic that I have not included if it would help other folks out. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Garlic Harvest

Finishing up the garden harvest and preparing for more snow in the next few days. My first garlic crop! (Minus some we already ate.) Now I'll be able to plant in the fall this year and should have a much better crop next summer. I couldn't do that last year since my garden only came into existence this past spring.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Wood Cutting

Part of what I have been busy with (and hence hadn't been posting much) is wood cutting. Clearing out dead beetle kill pine, cleaning the slash up, and splitting a bunch of firewood. A lot of work, but the kind of work I enjoy. Only one smashed and one split finger later, we've done about 13 cords of wood. Paying down my tiny house loan!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Fall Garden Tour

A look around the stuff still growing in my garden. A few things have frozen, but I am still picking, pulling, or digging things for every meal. I haven't had to buy veggies for months now. And with all the greens I've frozen, beets and cabbage I've pickled, and stuff that I canned, as well as the stuff that I still have to dig such as lots of potatoes, carrots, beets, onions and garlic, I shouldn't need to buy much for a while either. 

Now I just need to get the rest of the stuff out and then add all my compost from the last year, a truckload of horse manure from a neighbor, and then till all that plus the hay that's been on there for the year in. This should help loosen up the soil here that's still a little heavy on clay. And then I can mulch it all under a bunch more hay and just plant through that in the spring.

 I hope to never till it again after that, just keep adding mulch on top and planting through that. This should help reduce the amount of watering I need to do and continually enrich the soil. Already, every time I dig up something I turn up handfuls of earthworms. This spring when I planted things, I only saw two in the whole garden. 

Overall, I am very happy with the production for a first year garden, in a never worked location, on top of a hill that's a boulder pile, with no irrigation, and in a zone three location. And busy making plans for next spring!

Insurance For A Tiny House

Insurance! So since I have an RV loan on my tiny house, I have to have insurance. For the last year, I had a policy through RV America. A year ago when I called all the companies, there were very few who'd ever heard of the idea and even less who were willing to insure a tiny house. They did after some lengthy discussions and some pressure from my house's builder, Tumbleweed. This was great. Except for the price tag, $759 annually. But I needed it for my loan, so I paid it. 

Now this year, with that policy up for renewal, I thought I'd do another round of checking on what's currently available. This time around, every agent I talked to reacted something like "Oh, like the ones on TV? Cool! I love those! I don't know if we can insure them, let me check." Turns out that some still don't cover them though, and since I live in the least populated state, WY, several companies don't have licenses for my state who would otherwise offer coverage. Just not worth the trouble for so few people. 

But Darrell ( and Farmers both do in my state. I'm still waiting on quote details from Darrell, but the local Farmers agent just came out to see the place and take some photos. She loved it and was so excited to see it and told me multiple times how jealous she was. ;) They quoted me $557 for the year and would insure it under a new category they invented just for tiny houses. Travel trailers that are stationary and full time residences or something like that. Not sure which I'll go with till I get the exact price back from Darrell, but it's cool that there are more options these days! Now I do have a house built by Tumbleweed and they have a RVIA  license, so these details might be different for self built houses. 

And while I was glad to have my policy for the last year, I wasn't real sure they really knew what they were covering, or that they would pay up if something did happen. But these other two both know exactly what they are insuring and I'm very comfortable with that. One of the two will be insuring Fy Nyth for the next year. Just some info for those of you looking for coverage yourself!

Sunrises & Sets and Friends

There's been a bunch of rainy days here, but some beautiful fall weather too. Pretty leaves, morning mists, colored clouds, and an amazing lunar eclipse. And my good friends Dale and Doris finally made it over for a dinner and a visit.