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6 difficult-to-insure homes (pricey, too)

Homes that can be difficult to insure

You can expect to pay about $1,000 a year to insure the average home. But not all homes are average. Some residential properties -- everything from vacant homes to those in disaster-prone areas -- are far more difficult to insure.

And more expensive.

The Insurance Information Institute reported the average homeowners insurance policy in the United States cost $1,034 in 2012, the last year for which the institute has data. But if you're buying one of those homes that are more difficult to insure? You can expect to pay much more than $1,000, say insurance professionals.

How much more depends on your home.

"Homeowners insurance premiums in general have risen steadily over the past few years," said Melissa Neis Wittenborn, vice president of Chicago's Parr Insurance Brokerage. "And that's for typical homes. If you are buying a home that presents more risk to insurance companies, you can expect to pay even more. Insurers need to protect themselves if they are insuring homeowners who are more likely to file significant claims."

See also: Home insurance rates by state

Matt Hackett, operations and underwriting manager for New York City-based mortgage lender Equity Now, says there is always a policy available to homeowners, even for homes that are difficult to insure.

Homeowners can turn to what are known as FAIR plans, for instance. These plans -- the abbreviation stands for Fair Access to Insurance Requirements -- are offered by individual state associations, and are designed to provide an insurance safety net for owners who can't get traditional homeowners insurance.

Plans are offered by such associations as the Michigan Basic Property Insurance Association, Virginia Property Insurance Association and Texas FAIR Plan Association.

"These insurers, while not rated by AM Best, Demotech or Standard & Poor's, are still acceptable insurers from a mortgage underwriting perspective," Hackett says.

Here are six homes that are decidedly not average when it comes to insurance.

1. Homes in disaster-prone areas

Expect to pay more for homeowners insurance if you live in an area that is prone to natural disasters. If you live in a coastal area in Florida, for instance, you can expect to pay a lot more.

The Insurance Information Institute reports that the average homeowners insurance premium in Florida in 2012 was $2,084, the highest in the country. The reason? Many Florida homes are exposed to hurricanes and other natural disasters.

"Coastal areas are always challenging," Neis says.

2. Second homes

You might pay more to insure a vacation home. That's because vacation homes are usually empty much of the year. If a vacation home's pipes burst, you might not notice it for months. That can leave plenty of damage, damage that's costly for insurers to cover.

Because of this, they'll charge you more to insure a home that you won't be living in most of the year.

And if you rent your vacation home out for part of the year? You have little control over the damages that your renters can cause. This, too, can result in higher premiums.

3. Homes with the "small things"

Isaac Hammelburger, digital strategist with East Insurance Group in Baltimore, says plenty of small things can make finding homeowners insurance more difficult and costly.

Having a flat roof, for instance, can boost your insurance rates. That's because your home is more likely to suffer water damage from heavy rains.

You might struggle to find affordable insurance, too, if you insist on using custom building materials when constructing a new home, Hammelburger says. That’s because insurance companies prefer to insure materials they're familiar with.

4. Vacant homes

What if you've bought a home that you won't move into until you're done with time-consuming renovations? You'll still have to insure that home while it's vacant. And that could be a challenge.

"Being vacant increases the risk of vandalism and theft," Hammelburger said.

And if you're buying a home that has been vacant for a long time? Those insurers who will provide coverage will charge you more. Homes that are empty tend to deteriorate at a faster pace than do those that are occupied full time, raising the likelihood of claims.

5. Homes with risky pooches

You might love your pet pit bull. But insurance companies won't. Neis Wittenborn says many insurance companies won't provide homeowners insurance if you have a specific type of dog breed that is considered more aggressive. If you have one of these dogs -- which are considered more likely to bite visitors to your home, making insuring your property a riskier proposition -- you might have to shop extra hard for a policy.

Dogs on the restricted list vary according to insurance company. But some dogs that appear often on these lists include pit bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermans, Chow Chows and German Shepherds.

If you have one of these breeds, be prepared to hunt longer and pay more for your homeowners insurance policy.

See also: 6 breeds you may not know are blacklisted

6. Homes with pools and trampolines

Neis Wittenborn says pools and trampolines can make your home more difficult to insure, too. People get hurt on trampolines. They drown in pools. This makes insurance companies nervous. They see those future claims whenever they come across a home with one of these amenities.

Again, if you insist on buying a home with a pool or if you must buy a trampoline for your children, expect to pay more.

See also: Bundling home and auto insurance could save you 25%

Plus: 8 common homeowners insurance discounts

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