What is specialist home insurance?
If you live in an unusual home, such as a house with a thatched roof, or a property that’s at high risk of flooding or subsidence, you will more than likely need specialist home insurance – because conventional home insurance policies won’t cover you.
While your typical two-up two-down terraced house might fit neatly into the ‘standard’ box for insurance purposes, there are plenty of properties which don’t.
This guide explains which types of home might need specialist insurance.
What kinds of property might need specialist home insurance?
There are several types of property which require specialist home insurance.
- Properties with thatched roofs: These are usually old and at greater risk of fire damage than homes of standard construction, making mainstream insurers wary. It is important that you arrange appropriate cover in case of a claim; thatching is expensive to redo, and you could be left with a sizeable repair bill
- Listed buildings: Listed buildings are protected by law, so you need special permission to carry out any repairs or alterations. These may have to be made using certain types of material or techniques, which can be expensive
- Homes of ‘non-standard’ construction: Homes which have brick walls and a tile roof are classed by an insurer as standard constructions. If your home has a timber frame, however, or is made using traditional methods of wattle and daub, you’ll need a specialist buildings insurance policy
Do any other kinds of property need specialist home insurance?
If your property is considered high risk by insurers, perhaps because it is at risk of flooding or has subsidence, you’re also likely to need specialist cover.
- Homes in flood-risk areas: If you live in a flood-risk area, it will almost certainly affect your home insurance premiums and you will probably need specialist cover
- Houses affected by subsidence: The main cause of subsidence in the UK is the shrinkage of clay soil in dry weather. Clay soil is particularly common in the south-east, so properties here are especially vulnerable. Trees can also have a big impact, as they suck moisture from the soil. Subsidence claims can be expensive, so you can expect to pay a higher premium for your buildings insurance if your property is affected
- Unoccupied properties: If you’re going to be away from home for more than 30 days, most standard home insurance policies won’t cover you. You’ll need to take out short-term insurance to protect your property and belongings, which you can take out for the specific period your property is going to be empty
Do you need specialist insurance for self-build homes?
If you choose to build your own home, you’ll need specialist self-build home insurance to cover the property during the project.
This will can provide protection from damage to your property from vandalism, flood, fire or storm damage. If you have employed people to help you out with the self-build project then you will also benefit from employer's liability insurance which will cover the cost of a claim for damages in the event that someone is injured during the project
Does specialist home insurance cost more than standard home insurance?
If you need specialist home insurance, the amount you’ll have to pay for cover will depend entirely on your individual circumstances and the reason why your property can’t be covered by standard insurance.
Specialist cover can be more expensive than standard cover, but it’s vital to be up front about anything that’s unusual about your property. If you aren’t, then you risk having any claim you make refused.