Whether it was looks or location that drew you to buy a listed building, insurance is now essential. But not every insurance company will cover your special home. And you may have discovered that listed building insurance premiums can be higher than for standard properties. Luckily, there are ways to secure a better price. We explain why you need specialist listed buildings insurance and how to find the best value deal.
Why do I need special listed building insurance?
Unless you own your listed property outright, having the right building insurance is likely to be a mandatory condition of your mortgage. Even if you do own the building entirely, insurance is still likely to be prudent unless you’re confident you’ve got the funds to carry out any necessary repairs or rebuilding if the worst does happen. As the owner of a listed building, you’ve taken on the responsibility to maintain it as a building of historical importance. That means if something happens and it needs to be repaired or rebuilt, you’ll be obliged to do it. If you don’t, your local council could order the repairs and send you the bill. If you don’t have insurance, you’ll be left facing a hefty bill.
Standard building insurance, the sort you can generally find on price comparison websites, won’t usually cover non-standard buildings, which includes listed buildings.
Why does listed building insurance usually cost more than standard building insurance?
There is a range of reasons why listed buildings insurance sometimes costs more than standard insurance. The main reason is risk. Most listed buildings are older properties. They may be made out of non-standard building materials, like cob or lime plaster, or have a thatched roof. If they do need to be rebuilt or repaired, you will need to use the same materials to reinstate them. That normally costs more. And that means listed buildings can cost insurance companies more.
Listed buildings are also more likely to suffer from issues such as damp or rot because most of them tend to be older. This also increases the risk in the eyes of the insurance company. As insurance premiums are calculated using a formula that balances risk, premiums usually are higher than for similarly sized buildings in the same area that are not listed.
How do I know if I live in a listed building?
Most people will be aware that they are buying a listed building during the purchase process. If you’re not sure, you can double check using these links:
- For properties in England, head to Historic England
- For properties in Wales, search CADW
- In Scotland, look at Historic Environment Scotland
- In Northern Ireland, it’s The Department for Communities
Listed building insurance traps to avoid
While we all want to spend as little as possible on insurance, when it comes to estimating your rebuild costs, it pays not to scrimp.
All repairs to listed buildings need to be approved by your local planners. You’ll need to use the same construction materials as were originally used for any repairs or rebuilding works. These can be more expensive than modern methods as well as require more expensive, specialist craftsmanship.
It’s worth taking the time to accurately assess the rebuild costs of your home or pay a chartered surveyor to do this for you. While it may mean an initial outlay, if something unexpected does happen, you’ll be confident you have the right level of insurance cover. Underestimating the rebuild costs of your home is unlikely to save you a significant amount of money. But it could leave you with a massive headache to sort out if you do come to rely on your insurance.
Finding cheap listed building insurance
While listed building insurance tends to be higher than standard building insurance, there are ways of securing a better value deal.
1) Buy building and contents insurance together
Building insurance covers the structure of the building and fixed fittings, like kitchens and bathrooms, against fire, flood, and other damage. If you want to insure the contents of your home, from sofas and TVs to your clothes and tech like your phone, you’ll need to buy contents insurance. Buying buildings and contents insurance together will often cost less than purchasing these separately, so look for a bundle deal. High-value items, like art and antiques, may also need specialist insurance cover, so speak to your broker to tailor your cover to your specific needs.
2) Tweak your excess
In some cases, you may be able to reduce your premium by increasing your excess. The excess is the amount you’ll automatically pay when you make any claim. A higher excess can make sense on a buildings insurance policy because most claims will be for more substantial amounts of money. Be careful not to set your excess too high. And double check if increasing the excess makes any difference to your premium, as in some cases it will stay the same.
3) Shop around
Like all insurance, it pays to shop around when you’re looking to renew your listed buildings insurance. You’ll discover that you can’t use comparison websites, so get ready to do the ringing round or online form filling yourself. Alternatively, use an independent broker like Park Insurance to do the leg-work for you.
The Park Insurance team has 30 years of experience helping owners of properties that are non-standard, such as thatched roofs, older properties, and listed buildings. We’ll use our understanding of the different listing grades and categories to find you the best price on insurance that meets your specific needs.
We’re not just here to get you the best price on listed building insurance. We’ll help guide you through what level of cover you need, so you don’t find yourself out of pocket. We can advise on the different types of cover that might be suitable for you. And we can put these together into a great value bundle.
We can check to see if tweaking the excess will make any difference for you. And we’ll make sure that nothing gets accidentally left out by mistake. As independent brokers, we have access to a wide choice of trusted insurance companies. And as we understand homeowners’ needs, we’re in a strong position to negotiate hard on your behalf. Call our friendly team on 0117 9556835 or get in touch for a free quote.