While most homes are made out of regular building materials and aren’t historically important, some people chose to live in unusual properties – which tend to be harder, and therefore more expensive, to insure. You may even need to talk to a specialist.
Can I get cheap insurance for a non-standard construction?
If you live in a non-standard property, you’re likely to need specialist home insurance cover to ensure you’re properly protected.
While standard construction properties – those built with brick or stone, and which have a roof made of tile or slate – are usually straightforward to insure, buildings using non-standard materials or designs are trickier to cover. This is because they use materials that are harder to make and which require special skills to put together, making them more expensive to replace.
What is a non-standard property?
Here are some of the types of property which are usually considered non-standard for home insurance purposes:
- Listed properties
- Thatched houses
- Timber or steel-framed houses
- Pre-fabricated homes
- Homes made from cob (an old building material made from clay, straw and water) or wattle and daub (daub is similar to cob but is used in panels within the structure of a timber framed building).
- Properties with a shingle, plastic or rubber roof
- Any home which doesn’t use typical building materials
- Unusual properties such as converted windmills
Insurers’ definitions of non-standard can vary, but most mainstream insurers will be reluctant to provide cover for any home which is out of the ordinary.
Where can I find cover for a non-standard property?
The risks to a property of non-standard construction are not easy to assess, which makes it harder to set an appropriate non-standard home insurance premium and explains why most mainstream insurers won’t cover these kinds of property.
Fortunately, there are several specialist insurers which cater for homeowners living in non-standard properties. These insurers will usually be able to provide a non-standard construction insurance policy for any out-of-the-ordinary home, including those which are listed, underpinned or are currently being renovated.
Your insurer will ask about the construction of your home when you apply for cover. It's important to be honest. If you fail to disclose any relevant information, it could invalidate the policy. In other words, it would not pay out in the event of a claim.
Will it cost more to insure a non-standard property?
The premium for a non-standard home insurance policy may be higher than for a standard property high because of the specific risks to more unusual properties. Flat roofs, for example, are more prone to weather damage, whilst fire is the big hazard in a thatched property, with any damage likely to be more extensive and expensive to repair than in a home of standard construction.
And if you live in a listed property, you’re subject to all kinds of rules and regulations over repairs and alterations, which can lead to costly claims.
Even if you do have to pay a bit more for non-standard cover, remember that buildings insurance is essential. A decent policy covers your home against a range of risk including fire, flood, storm and subsidence and can provide a financial lifeline if things go wrong.
How do I work out cover for my non-standard property?
If you live in a normal home, insurers will be able to work out how much you need to pay for buildings insurance pretty easily. This is known as ‘the sum assured’, and represents the maximum the cost to rebuild your property from scratch if it were completely destroyed.
The Association of British Insurers’ and Building Cost Information Service provides a rebuilding cost calculator you can use to check your property’s rebuild cost.
However, if you live in a home of non-standard construction, you will probably have to employ a surveyor to help you work out the sum assured.
Where can I find cheap insurance for a non-standard property?
If you want to get the best deal on insurance for a non-standard property, you can source quotes quickly and easily with MoneySuperMarket's carefully selected partners. They’ll show you exactly what is and isn’t covered, so you can be certain that the policy you choose is right for you and your home.