Dedicated home insurance for a listed property

Although they are usually very attractive, listed buildings and period properties can sometimes be difficult to obtain a mortgage on and to insure. This is because these properties often have higher repair costs due to unusual construction materials and the need for sympathetic restoration. Specialist builders are often needed for any works that are carried out due to the difficulty of sourcing materials and construction methods that may have fallen out of widespread use.

CoverBuilder works with a panel of specialist UK home insurance companies to tailor our policy to your specific property and personal needs. We offer excellent cover for Listed Buildings as standard.

 

 

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MORE ABOUT LISTED BUILDINGS

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3 points to consider when buying a listed building

Listed Buildings (often also referred to as Heritage Homes) are properties in the UK that are considered to have significant historical relevance and have been added to a preservation list to ensure they are still around for future generations to enjoy.

1) It may be difficult to make property alterations

Before you make any changes or alterations to your listed building you will need to obtain permission from your local authority. This rule applies to both internal and external alterations and can sometimes even extend as far as the fixtures and fittings.

Listed Building Insurance; Illustration of planning officer advising you to seek permission

Consent should always be obtained before embarking on any form of renovations as it is a criminal offence to alter a listed building without permission. The purpose of this is to ensure that the historic character of a property is not lost during alteration, rather than to preserve the property in a museum-like state.

As long as plans are sympathetic they will often be acceptable to the Conservation officer, even if this does require slight alteration to your original plans.

Application forms can be submitted online and can be obtained from your local planning authority’s website or at planningportal.gov.uk. As we mentioned applying for consent for a Grade I or Grade II* listed building is strongly advised. A pre-application consultation is held with the local authority, the statutory heritage body (English Heritage, Cadw or Historic Scotland) and one or more of the statutory consultees, such as the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), the Victorian Society or the Georgian Group.

 

2) Repairing your home is more complicated

Generally, when a property required either external or internal repairs there are many tasks a homeowner can undertake themselves. With the added complexity of a listed status comes the requirement of advanced skill and knowledge to carry out such repairs. The same is applied to the hiring of contractors to undertake any repairs.

General contractors may not have the necessary specialist skills or deep knowledge of the property type in order to carry out the repair within the boundaries permitted within the listed status. With specialist skills often the is a corresponding increase in price for that knowledge and technical work. This often results in listed home owners incurring increased repair costs compared to non-listed property repairs.

 

3) You are likely to need specialist home insurance

As with repairs and alterations, listed building also requires a specialist insurance provider to fully protect the building. CoverBuilder works with a selection of well established UK home insurance providers allowing us to tailor the policy and the premium we offer you. Remember that the total rebuild cost of your property may be calculated slightly differently to a non-listed property as specialist/rare materials may be required to restore any damage. This is not the sales value but the total cost if you had to rebuild the property from base up. Click the button below to get a full quote online.

 

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Understanding the categorisation of the property

There are estimated to be around 500,000 listed buildings in England and Wales at present. In order to be considered, properties must be at least 30 years old and generally, all buildings from pre 1700 are listed. Listed buildings can include residential properties, large public buildings as well as barns and commercial premises. Anyone can make a nomination for listing to take place and an independent panel will then assess properties on a case-by-case basis. Properties are listed in different categories depending where in the UK they are based.

 

Listings for properties in England and Wales

  • Grade I listed: Buildings that are deemed to be of exceptional interest.This listing is given to a select few properties and makes up 2.5% of all listed buildings.
  • Grade II* listed: Slightly less common, grade 2* buildings are deemed to be of more than special interest. They account for 5.8% of listed buildings.
  • Grade II listed: This is the most common listing for residential properties, taking up 92% of all property registrations. Grade 2 listed buildings are described as being of special interest.

 

Listings for properties in Scotland

    • Category A: Historic building of national or international importance, be that architectural or historic.
    • Category B: Buildings of regional, or more than local, importance or major examples of a particular period or style.
    • Category C: Buildings of local importance or which are slightly less impressive examples of buildings in category A or B.

 

Listings for properties in Northern Ireland

  • Grade A : Buildings of the greatest importance to Northern Ireland including both outstanding architecture and the least altered examples of each style or period.
  • Grade B+ : Buildings which might have merited grade A status but for but have some kind of flaw, such as, an incomplete design or low-quality additions. Grade B+ also includes buildings that are above the general standard set by grade B buildings, due to exceptional features or interiors.
  • Grade B : Buildings which are of local importance – often good examples of a particular period or style. Certain imperfections can be acceptable in properties of this grade.

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Will my insurance be very expensive?

Unfortunately, Listed Buildings can often attract higher premiums due to the features mentioned above. Not only are materials and expert contractors generally more expensive to source, the difficulty in finding relevant experts can cause delays in the repair process, again increasing the costs of claims. CoverBuilder is a listed building insurance specialist and we don’t want owners of Listed buildings to be unnecessarily penalised.

How do I work out the rebuild costs for my listed building?

As listed buildings can vary so much we are not able to accurately calculate what the rebuild cost of your property may be. If you are not sure of this figure then your best bet is to contact a local Quantity Surveyor who will be able to carry out a full survey of your property and assess how much it would cost to rebuild.


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Caring for your listed building

Obtain the correct permission
It can actually be a criminal offence to alter a listed building without the correct consent in place, so it is vital to make sure any alterations you make have been given the correct approval in plenty of time. Listings can sometimes extend as far as internal fixtures and fittings so make sure you know exactly what you do and don’t need to have permission for. The best bet is to err on the side of caution and get any changes that you are considering approved with listed building consent. It will avoid a big headache in the future!

Check that you are insured
As the owner of a listed building, it is particularly important that you ensure you have a suitable specialist home insurance policy in place to repair any unforeseen damage that could befall your property. You are legally obliged to maintain the property in a good state of repair, so if there was a huge incident such as a fire, you could be left with a hefty bill if you haven’t taken out insurance.

However, there can sometimes be difficulty in obtaining a suitable policy in the first place. Lots of standard providers will be unable to cover listed buildings, particularly since their rebuild costs are often significantly higher than an equivalent new build. Luckily there are a number of specialist listed building insurance providers who are able to cover such properties, even when they are undergoing renovations.

Keep your alterations sympathetic
There are two main schools of thought when it comes to making alterations to listed buildings. One school of thought believes that extensions should be as in keeping with the original building as possible, so that the historical look is maintained. Others believe that extensions should be notably different to the original structure in order to easily establish what is old and what is new. Whatever thoughts you share, it is vital to ensure that you use suitable materials in the upkeep and alteration of your listed building (both for aesthetic reasons and to make sure you keep the planners happy!) Wooden windows and doors should always be used and wherever possible traditional building materials and techniques should be utilised.

 

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