Why the house from Pixar's 'Up' wouldn't qualify for home insurance

Homeowners insurance covers all kinds of unexpected risks, but it probably won’t cover a flying balloon house.

Stephanie Nieves author photo

Published December 29, 2020

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In Pixar’s movie “Up,” retired balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen sets out on an adventure to the forbidden Paradise Falls, to fulfill a lifelong dream he shared with his late wife, Ellie. But Carl plans to get there in an unconventional way — by lifting his house up with balloons. On his journey, he meets Russell, an 8-year old boy scout who winds up trapped on his front porch when the house flies away.

Homeowners insurance covers all kinds of unexpected risks, from theft, to vandalism, and even asteroids and other falling objects. But homeowners insurance isn't as flexible when it comes to flying homes, and unfortunately for Carl, he would probably lose coverage for his house, himself, and any injuries and property damage he causes along the way.

Would home insurance ever cover a flying balloon house?

Let’s be real, probably not. In order to get his home to fly, Carl had to tie over 20,000 balloons to his chimney and use an old record player to steer his home. With curtains sailing from the rods outside his windows, the flying house could technically be considered a form of aircraft, and standard home insurance policies exclude aircraft, hovercraft, and anything else used or designed to fly. This exclusion also denies coverage to any parts used for flying, whether attached to the house or not (like the balloons).

There's also the matter of what happens when his home lifts off — utility lines would be pulled out of the ground, his built-in appliances would no longer work, and his home would now be prone to all kinds of exterior damage from thunderstorms, mountaintops, and other risks of flying around via balloon. Homeowners insurance won’t cover losses that are intentional or preventable, so Carl would need to pay for all that damage caused the second his home is uprooted from the ground.

What kind of coverage do you need if your home actually moves?

Most homes don't fly via balloon, but there are some homes designed to move, like RVs, trailers, tiny houses on wheels, and houseboats. All of these homes require their own form of insurance, though.

Since Carl’s home turns into a form of aircraft, it might technically require aircraft insurance, but only airplanes and jets with legitimate engines would be eligible, and Carl’s flying home had none of that.

Assuming Carl’s home sustains lots of damage on the journey, he’d probably also be looking at pricier coverage when he lands. His rates might increase in order to sufficiently cover his home up to its replacement cost, but considering the wild adventure he went on, he’d probably be dropped from coverage altogether.

In the end, Carl and Russell make it to Paradise Falls, where they escape from his evil childhood idol, foster a rare colorful bird, and eventually leave his home in a spot above the waterfall, just as he and Ellie imagined it.

Carl’s adventure proves that anything is possible if you have 20,000 balloons and a whole lot of grit. But if you’re ever tempted to take flight in your own home, just remember that the higher up you go, the higher your insurance rates will too.

Property and Casualty Insurance Expert

Stephanie Nieves

Property and Casualty Insurance Expert

Expertise
Stephanie Nieves is an insurance editor at Policygenius in New York City, specializing in auto and home insurance. She's been writing about insurance, finance and financial planning since 2018, and loves helping readers get the knowledge they need to make financial decisions with confidence. Her words can also be found on PayScale, Fairygodboss, and The Muse.

Education
Stephanie has a B.A. in writing and rhetoric from Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

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