The 10 Most Expensive Homes to Insure

There are expensive homes and then there are states that have expensive home insurance. When you combine the two — an expensive home in a high-premium state — some truly outrageous costs result. The most expensive houses tend to collect around the coastal areas of the United States. The views are stunning, and there’s an element of seclusion for many homes in those areas. However, these benefits come with a price – they’re in some of the most disaster-prone areas of the country. Insuring them against hurricanes, tropical storms, earthquakes, and other natural disasters make living in these homes even pricier. Below is our list of the 10 most expensive homes to insure.

  1. Fleur de Lys, Beverly Hills, CA — List: $125 million: The home of philanthropist Suzanne Saperstein, who Vanity Fair dubbed as, “The world’s number one consumer of haute couture,” is currently on the market at a whopping $125 million. The 45,000-square-foot mansion was modeled after Louis XIV’s palace in Versailles, and reflects the style of the 17th century French monarch’s abode, right down to the draperies. Stuffed full of original antiques from that era, including items from the homes of Napoleon Bonaparte and Marie Antoinette, the furnishings alone would be astronomical to insure.
  2. The Spelling Manor, Holmby Hills, CA — List: $150 million, Sold: $85 million: Built on the site of a home owned by Bing Crosby, television producer Aaron Spelling commissioned the 56,500-square-foot mansion in 1988, razing the older mansion for the project. His widow, Candy, listed the property at $150 million, the highest listing price of a private residence in the country. Nestled on 4.69 acres, the home boasts 123 rooms and a floor consisting of nothing but closets. The current owner, Petra Ecclestone, purchased the estate for $85 million in June 2011 and promptly gutted the interior, selling the Baccarat crystal chandeliers and other antiques to dealers and installing contemporary fixtures. Insuring antiques can get pricey, so we’re sure that the new owner is saving a few dollars on her premiums.
  3. Tranquility, Lake Tahoe, NV — List: $100 million, Reduced: $75 million: A compound of buildings is built around the main home, including a stable, guest and staff house, art studio, conservatory, and boathouse in various places on the 210-acre parcel of land. Nine bedrooms and five bathrooms make up the majority of the main home’s comparatively modest size of 20,000 square feet. If you happen to have a penchant for golf and/or cars, a three-hole golf course and a 16-car garage are at your disposal. Tommy Hilfiger cofounder Joel Horowitz currently owns Tranquility, and in order to sweeten the deal, he is willing to throw in the home’s furnishings.
  4. Versailles, Windermere, FL — List: $100 million completed, As-is: $75 million: Situated on a 10-acre peninsula off Lake Butler near Orlando, Versailles is marketed as the largest home in America, boasting a full 90,000 square feet. Versailles was intended to be the personal residence for resort magnate David Siegel, but construction was halted because of his apparent economic hardship. As a result, this modern-day palace isn’t quite finished. However, if you’re handy, you can buy the house as-is, and Mr. Siegel will knock off a cool $25 million. Hurricane insurance not included.
  5. Hillandale, Stamford, CT — List: $95 million: Owned by Liberty Travel founder Gilbert Haroche and his wife, Charlene, the estate was formerly owned by the Sulzberger family (of The New York Times publishing history). Straddling the border between Connecticut and New York, the 263-acre estate, with a 23-room, 20,000-square-foot main house, was listed for sale by the Haroches in 2007 for $95 million. There have been no takers, and since then, they have removed the property from the market.
  6. Woolworth Mansion, New York City, NY — List: $90 million: Manhattan has always been a pricey side of town, but even those used to the high price of New York real estate are raising their eyebrows at the $90 million price tag attached to the former retail giant’s 35-foot wide, seven-story townhome-style mansion. The last owner, fitness guru Lucille Roberts, died in 2003, and the surviving family, who currently holds the home, is willing to rent it out for $210,000 per month. While in a relatively disaster-free area, the high-priced real estate in the area automatically raises insurance rates.
  7. La Villa Contenta, Malibu, CA — List: $75 million: This Mediterranean-style villa on the Pacific Coast Highway sits on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. As if that body of water isn’t enough, there are several indoor and outdoor swimming pools and ponds. Built in 2002, the 20,000-square-foot home features several gardens and outbuildings throughout the eight-acre parcel. Drawing several parallels to the Hearst Mansion, owner Richard Weintraub had rented the home out for $250,000 per month and has been featured in the films, I Love You, Man and Funny People. A smaller parcel can be purchased for $28.5 million, if the whole property is just too spacious for you. You might be better off getting the whole thing in case of a mudslide or tropical storm. That way, you can rebuild on another part of the property when the insurance check comes in.
  8. 1016 Madison Avenue, New York, NY — List: $72 million: The 12,000-square-foot, seven-story mansion is just a few minutes’ stroll from the Woolworth mansion and is currently owned by Graham Arader, who is using the beautiful structure to house the Arader Gallery. As with many of the other listings here, the mansion has been listed and removed from the market several times over the last few years. Contrary to other listings, this stunning townhouse’s asking price lurched up each time, from $39 million in 2006 to $58 million in 2007, and after a brief stint at $75 million, it was reduced to $72 million, where it disappeared from the market again.
  9. Forstmann House, New York, NY — List: $75 million in 2007, Reduced to $50 million: German immigrant Julius Forstmann, a successful wool merchant who was implicated in, then subsequently absolved of, supporting the Nazi regime in 1918, commissioned the elegant neo-classical mansion on East 71st Street for $700,000 in 1923. Real estate developer Aby Rosen now owns the mansion and remains unwilling to budge on the current asking price. While not in a disaster-prone area, it is in a prestigious one, and that alone raises insurance rates.
  10. Dunnellen Hall, Greenwich, CT — List: $125 million, Sold: $35 million: The housing crisis has effected even the wealthy. Dunnellen Hall entered the market in 2008 with a high price tag. Formerly owned by the “queen of mean” hotelier Leona Helmsley, the Jacobean manor was purchased for $11 million back in 1983. After Leona’s death, the bulk of her estate went to her little Maltese dog. The pooch died in June 2011, and the remainder of the $12 million reserved for the dog’s comfort has reverted to a charitable trust. After leaving and reentering the market more than once, it finally sold for $35 million. At least the home sold; many on the list have yet to get a buyer. However, it’s up for sale again. Asking price: $42.9 million.

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