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How many bedrooms do I have?

Last post Sat, Mar 20 2010, 10:14 PM by jstrap. 5 replies.
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  •  Sat, Mar 20 2010, 10:14 PM

    Re: How many bedrooms do I have?

    No, it certainly isn't as easy as it might be.

    I'd been off Googling in the meantime and managed to discover that the rebuild cost and number of bedrooms are separate ways of evaluating the sum to insure. I think that number of bedrooms is a bit too subjective in our case so I'm going to look for a policy that works on rebuild cost. I'd also found the BCIS website which includes a rebuild cost calculator, but it isn't flexible enough for our place. We're a mixture of stone and concrete block construction with a split level ground floor, just to complicate things even further the middle of the house is one storey and the ends two storey!

    I think I'm just going to have to over-insure to be safe, I'd contract a surveyor to work it out but having having had the pleasure of dealing with a couple during pre-purchase surveys (kid in suit with inappropriate moisture meter - 'bath plug looks to be in good condition but a specialist bath plug company should be contracted to make a full assessment') and building surveyor during extension construction (contracted to help architect make bigger mistakes) I don't think I'd believe the result.

    Thanks a lot for taking the time to help.

    • Post Points: 35
  •  Sat, Mar 20 2010, 9:57 PM

    Re: How many bedrooms do I have?

    This is generally how it works.

    Insurers when you approach them for a quote ask the number of bedrooms for two reasons. 1) The Insurance scheme they have may be restricted to covering a property with less than (say) 6 beds. 2) Since Insurers don't ask for measurements of a property, they ask for number of beds, type of property, age of property, which helps them calculate a notional sum Insured, that helps them work out a premium. The information works out what the typical square footage would be in the area you live. Programmed into the Insurers system is the RICS general guide to rebuilding costs which roughly works out what it might be. This is only any good if the property is bog standard and conforms to the RICS guide.

    If your property is built of a certain type of stone and is not a standard 2 storey house, you really need to have a surveyor work out the actual rebuilding cost. Then for those policies where you have to state a sum Insured you can answer this. For properties that are up to £1m, the surveyors estimate can guide whether sufficient or not. For those that are unlimited, the normal advice, is to give Insurers the number of beds that would be advertised by an estate agent, if they were selling the house. If you give them the correct info in regard to this, as well as the age of property, type of construction etc, you should have no problems in the event of a claim.

    It is often worth dealing with Insurers that widely cover such properties. e.g NFU, Hiscox. They tend to have more of an understanding and can provide more helpful advice, than your average bog standard Insurer.

    • Post Points: 35
  •  Sat, Mar 20 2010, 9:28 PM

    Re: How many bedrooms do I have?

    Unfortunately not as straight forward as it could be, is it.?

    Following on from what you describe, I would class it as a Five bedroomed property (2 x attic & 2 x ground floor) (1 x extension)... with the small room in the extension practically only being of any reasonable use as a study / home office particularly if it's never been intended as or used as a bedroom.

    Further to this; read the following thread with attention to what member, "true advice" and our fellow colleague, "huckster" mentions.....this may hopefully help you make a more informed decision.

    http://www.moneysupermarket.com/community/forums/p/40042/rebuild-cost-of-property-175209.aspx

    • Post Points: 50
  •  Sat, Mar 20 2010, 8:52 PM

    Re: How many bedrooms do I have?

    Thanks, unfortunately they don't really help. The quoted insurer's statement serves to confuse the issue even further:

    ----------------------------

    We use the number of bedrooms to give an indication of the overall size of a house. For this purpose, a bedroom is defined as a room either originally designed for sleeping in (even if now used for other purposes), or later converted for sleeping in. For example, a bedroom used as a study counts as a bedroom. A house extended by converting the loft into a bedroom would increase its number of bedrooms. A bedroom converted into a bathroom would, under this definition, also count as a bedroom.

    ----------------------------

    Why don't they just ask how big the house is, if that's the purpose of the 'number of bedrooms' question? Surely that would be easier and more accurate? As for knowing the original intended purpose of each room I suppose I could try hiring a medium to find out.

    I did try to get a quote from first direct bank who were advertising 'unlimited rebuild cost' but after wasting half an hour on the phone they eventually admitted that it was limited (ok, to £1 million) but they still needed the actual rebuild cost because it affected the premium. In other words, their policy was not unlimited by either interpretation.

    And finally, why on earth is any of this relevant? Surely the only things that are important when an insurer is establishing their liability when providing buildings insurance is the total rebuild cost and likelihood of damage occurring? How on earth could the number of rooms that happen to be called bedrooms or what I do for a living affect the cost of repairing or rebuilding my house?

    • Post Points: 65
  •  Sat, Mar 20 2010, 6:26 PM

    Re: How many bedrooms do I have?

    Hi - These older threads may cast some light on your query although not conclusive they are the nearest clarification as to what constitutes a bedroom for insurance purposes.

    The point over the rebuildings cost could be taken care of by going with an insurer who offers rebuilding costs of up to £1 million as standard on their policy, or certainly a high enough limit to more than adequately cover the rebuilding costs as standard should the worst case happen.

    http://www.moneysupermarket.com/community/forums/t/number-of-bedrooms-for-insurance-purposes-12087.aspx

    http://www.moneysupermarket.com/community/forums/t/what-constitutes-a-bedroom-26274.aspx

    • Post Points: 50
  •  Sat, Mar 20 2010, 6:00 PM

    How many bedrooms do I have?

    Does anyone know the magic formula for determining the number of bedrooms a house has for insurance quotations? We live out in the sticks in a stone built cottage with a new extension that is nearly the same size as the original cottage. Nothing is straightforward (for me) to assess - we have two 'attic' rooms which we actually do use as bedrooms, although I seem to recall were not classified as such by the selling estate agent. We have a further two ground floor rooms that could be classified as bedrooms and a further two upstairs rooms in the extension (separate staircase) of which one would definitely be classified as a bedroom and another which is so small I'm not sure.

    The insurance brokers I've spoken to treat me as though I'm a complete idiot for not knowing how many bedrooms my house has, but will not or cannot tell me the criteria for judging whether a room is or is not, officially, a bedroom.

    The other problem I keep encountering is the rebuild cost - the house is too non-standard to use the rebuild cost calculator type sites, my experiences of builders would suggest that a guess is more likely to be accurate than a builders' estimate and architects seem to live in a dream world when it comes to cost of construction.

    I suppose the only opinion that would really matter would be that of the insurance assessor in the event of having to make a claim, but this seems to be something you can't get until your house actually does burn down.

    • Post Points: 50