Homeowners insurance blog

Insuring the White House

Ever thought about being the President of the United States? Undoubtedly it comes with some great benefits. You get to travel in your own airplane and helicopter, there are terrific medical and pension benefits and you’re the President of the United States. You also get a terrific house, valued by real estate website Zillow® at nearly $295 million. Not bad when you consider its age – its first residents moved in during 1800 – and the fact that it was damaged by fires in 1814 and 1929.

Of course, there’s the fact that it’s roughly 55,000 square feet, with 132 rooms, including 35 bathrooms, 16 bedrooms and three kitchens. Still, at that value, the monthly home insurance premiums would come at quite a, yes, premium. Luckily for us taxpayers, the White House also likely would qualify for some pretty hefty discounts. Let’s consider a few:

Home/auto bundle

Taxpayers would get a 20% discount if the president bundles coverage for the White House and Cadillac One, the official White House vehicle. Of course, its replacement value also is high – the cost of each presidential limo comes in at more than $1 million. Each auto is 18 feet long, weighs 8 tons, has 8-inch thick armor plating and comes with its own oxygen supply. You have to wonder how much value each limo loses once it’s driven off the lot. On the positive side, you might not need to include collision coverage on the auto insurance policy given all the armor plating.

Alarm systems
Taxpayers should get as much as a 10% break on the home insurance premium because of the White House security system, not to mention the teams of Secret Service agents and military personnel that always are on call.

Fire/smoke detectors
Given its fire history, the White House has to have smoke alarms. They would qualify it for a 5% discount. Deadbolt locks would entitle taxpayers another price break of up to 5%.

The President needs to try again on his well-chronicled efforts to stop smoking, both to extend his own life and to give taxpayers another break on White House home insurance. If no residents of a house smoke, it could mean a discount of up to 20%.

Discounts taxpayers won’t get

There are two notable price breaks that won’t be available to taxpayers for insuring the White House. Because the house is more than 10 years old, it isn’t eligible for the New Home discount, which could save up to 20% on home insurance. Finally, President Obama isn’t eligible, for obvious reasons, for the 55 or Older, Retired discount. That could reduce the premium up to 20%. (Had Mitt Romney won the White House, he would have qualified for this price break on both counts.)

By the way, Zillow® estimates that monthly mortgage payments for the home at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. would cost $1,130,832. That amount, it says, would cover principal, interest, taxes and, yes, insurance. So any discounts would certainly be welcome.