Listed building insurance

Home insurance for listed buildings and older properties

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When you buy a listed property, it often comes with centuries of fascinating history. But listed properties can be tricky to insure. Older, unlisted properties can cause a problem – especially if they have unusual features such as a thatched roof.

An old house by a bridge

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Not all insurers are prepared to cover “non-standard” properties, while others will not offer sufficient protection for your home.

There are specialist policies out there, though. This quick guide explains how to find the right insurance for your home – at the right price.

What is a listed property?

There are more than 350,000 listed buildings of special architectural or historic interest in the UK, most of which are at least 30 years old. The list includes almost all buildings built before 1700, as well as many of those built between 1700 and 1840.

More than nine in 10 of the listed buildings on it are Grade II, meaning they are of special but not exceptional interest or national importance.

But whatever grade the listing, conditions linked to owning such a building include that you must apply for consent to make any changes – and that you will need specialist insurance to protect it.

You can check to see if your property is listed on the National Heritage List for England on the english-heritage.org.uk website.

Where can I find specialist home insurance for listed/older properties?

Standard insurance policies often exclude “non-standard” buildings.

Non-standard is a wide-reaching term that can include anything from a flat above a café in London to 16th century Scottish castle.

Listed buildings insurance explained

But both listed and non-listed older properties tend to fall into this category because they were built using techniques and materials that are not easily available today and would therefore cost more to repair or rebuild.

Some also have problems such as damp and decay that you are unlikely to find with more modern properties.

Paying for a specialist valuation from an accredited surveyor will help you work out the best kind of building insurance for your “non-standard” property. Insurers that offer cover for listed and “non-standard” homes include Hiscox, NFU Mutual and Towergate Insurance.

Is there anything else I should know?

The potential difficulties involved in rebuilding an older property make it even more important to ensure the sum assured on your buildings insurance policy is high enough to cover any related costs. Otherwise you could find yourself having to cover any shortfall.

It may even be worth paying a bit more for so-called unlimited cover, with which there is no maximum payout.

Ways to keep costs down can include agreeing to pay a higher excess towards any claims. You may also find it cheaper to take out both buildings and contents insurance with the same insurer.

To avoid having to make a claim, meanwhile, stay on top of any maintenance issues such as eroding brickwork or damp patches. Regular roof inspections and checks on your guttering for leaves or other debris that might cause a blockage are also sensible precautions when you live in an older property.

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