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Construction Types and Home Insurance

Many insurance companies consider the type of construction used to build your home as a factor to determine your homeowners insurance rates. Learn how materials used to construct your home’s structure can affect your premiums.

Read Time: 6 mins

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When a homeowner is looking to purchase a home insurance policy, one of the most important factors the homeowner must consider is what type of material is the house made from. The construction type of the home can play a major factor in the cost of the home insurance policy and may lead to some perils being included or excluded. There are two construction types that are used in most cases: wood frame and masonry. We will look at both of these below.

Key facts
  • There are two common construction types for homes: wood frame and masonry.
  • Both wood frame and masonry homes come with their own risks, but wood frame is usually the more expensive to insure.
  • Homes with masonry type of construction are much more expensive to build and therefore less common.

Why construction type matters for home insurance

There are numerous factors that can determine the premium cost of a home insurance policy as well as some inclusions and exclusions in the policy. One of the most important factors is the construction type of the home. The construction type can determine how able the home is to withstand natural disasters, fires, wind, or any other number of perils that the insurance company will be protecting the homeowner from through the insurance policy. The better the home is able to withstand damage the lower the premium will likely be. Some construction types can better withstand damage than others. Let’s take a look at the two most common construction types for homes.

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Wood frame vs masonry

The two most common construction types for homes today are wood frame and masonry. Each of these construction types has its own pros and cons. In short, wood frame homes are the more expensive to insure of the two construction types. 

What are these construction types? The far more common type used today to build a home is the wood frame. Wood frame construction is much more cost-effective to build. Wood frame houses are just that. They are made out of wood, usually with drywall and insulation used to complete the home. Most houses you see are wood frame houses.

Masonry homes are much less common than wood frame homes and usually cost significantly more to build, but are generally the sturdier of the construction types. Masonry homes are made from bricks, stones, or concrete blocks that are held together with mortar. The cost of building as well as the time to build a home can make it prohibitive to build a masonry home even if the insurance premium is far lower. It can also be much more time-consuming and costly to install important things such as electrical wiring, plumbing, and more.

The masonry construction type is typically the construction type that leads to a lower insurance premium. Masonry homes are better able to withstand fire, wind, and other perils compared to wood-frame homes. They are also far less susceptible to other damages such as termite damage. All of this leads to a lower premium because the insurance company is taking on less risk compared to a wood frame house.

Is it really cheaper to insure a brick home?

If you are looking at a home that is made out of wood and the exact same home that is made out of brick, the brick home will be cheaper to insure. This, however, is not the end of the story. There are a number of other factors to consider which may make the brick home more expensive to insure than the wood frame home. First, it is probably more expensive to build a brick home, which will be a higher cost right there. On top of that, because it is more expensive to build a brick home that may mean that you need more coverage to fully protect the home because the replacement cost of the home is greater.

One area where brick homes may actually be more expensive to insure compared to the same wood frame house is in earthquake-prone areas of the country. Masonry homes, due to the heaviness and rigidity of the materials, are more susceptible to sustaining greater damage when an earthquake or other type of ground movement occurs. If you live in a particularly earthquake-prone area of the country you will likely have to pay a higher premium comparatively speaking for a masonry home.

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Brick veneer home and home insurance

Another construction type is a brick veneer home. These homes basically have bricks on the outside of the home that are more decorative than anything. These homes usually are wood frame homes with a brick exterior that is aesthetically pleasing but doesn’t provide any value to the structure of the home. A brick veneer home will be considered a wood frame home, but having brick veneer may lower your home insurance premium. Bricks are less flammable, which reduces the risk of fire to the home so the veneer will positively impact your premium rate. The more of the house with a brick veneer the better it is for the premium rates. Your premium will still be more expensive compared to a true masonry home though.

How to determine if your home is a frame or masonry home

It may not be possible to tell what construction type your home is from the exterior. In order to determine what type of home you have you can look from the inside in a variety of ways. First, you may be able to use a stud finder to check for studs in the wall. Wood frame houses have studs that run up and down the walls with space in between for all of the insulation. Masonry homes, on the other hand, will have solid walls made of brick, concrete, or stone.

You can also look inside the wall by piercing a hole to see if you pierce brick or not. You can also simply knock on the wall to hear if it is hollow or not. Wood frames will have a hollow sound while brick homes will not. If you still can’t figure out what construction type your home is the insurance company more than likely will default to the wood frame because it is more popular and higher premium, which is safer for them.


Construction types are an important piece in determining the premium cost of your home insurance policy. Make sure you know what materials your home is made out of in order to get the most accurate and fair premium rate.

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Kyle has extensive background in financial planning and financial writing. He is an expert in home, auto and life insurance. Kyle holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from San Diego State University and multiple financial planning designations.
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