How Much Is Listed Building Insurance?
If you currently own or are thinking about buying a listed building, you’ll no doubt be aware of the impact the listed status can have on upkeep and maintenance costs. You may also be aware that many mainstream home insurance companies do not provide cover for listed properties, meaning you’re likely to require specialist listed buildings insurance cover for the property.
A specialist home insurance policy for a listed building will often cost more than a policy for a standard home. In this article we take a look at how the characteristics of a listed building can influence how much an insurer will charge you for your home insurance.
The grade of the listed building often affects how much you pay for insurance
One of the factors taken into consideration by insurers when calculating a listed building premium is the grade or ‘category’ of listing, so it is important that you know what this is when getting a quote.
In England and Wales listed buildings have three grades: Grade II for buildings of special interest, Grade II* for buildings with more than special interest, and Grade I for those of exceptional interest. 91.7% of all listed buildings are Grade II according to the records held by Historic England.
The categories of listed buildings for Scotland and Northern Ireland are different to England and Wales, with properties in Scotland being allocated Category A, B or C listed status, and properties in Northern Ireland carrying Grade A, B, B+, B1 or B2 listed status. Each grade or category again denotes the level of architectural or historic interest in the property.
Generally, the greater the level of architectural or historic interest in the listed building, the higher the number and extent of restrictions placed on it for maintenance, repair or alteration works. These restrictions typically have a significant impact on the type of materials that must be used during any development or repair work, and can limit the actual building methods used, and require specialised expert craftsmen.
Crucially, the requirements are likely to significantly increase the cost of materials and labour should a repair be necessary, which ultimately increases the amount an insurer will have to pay in the event of a claim. As you’d expect, listed grades with a higher level of architectural interest will typically drive higher average claims costs, and therefore insurers need to increase their premium.
Not sure what grade your listed building is? Head over to Historic England to search for your property.
How the age and construction of a listed building affects the insurance cost
It stands to reason that the older the property is, the more time and money will be required to maintain, repair or rebuild it. If your listed building has an unusual or ‘non-standard’ construction type the repair and rebuild costs will always exceed those for a standard property with brick walls and a tiled roof.
Take a Tudor property for example. This would likely have been constructed of wattle and daub on a timber frame. Wattle and daub is an ancient construction method that consisted of a network of interwoven twigs or sticks being covered in mud, clay, animal dung and straw.
Now let’s consider a Victorian property, a property that could also be listed but would likely have been constructed from bricks and mortar. There will still be some specialist requirements in terms of the building methods and style, but the Victorian property would likely be cheaper and easier to work on than the Tudor property.
Properties of special interest usually take longer to repair due to the time needed to source specific materials, workmanship, the types of materials needed and the likelihood of required inspections during the process to ensure the materials and quality of work is up to standard.
The age of the property can also determine the type of heating, insulation and plumbing systems that are functioning in your listed building. Although these days it is unusual for a listed property not to have undergone some form of modernisation to allow for improved heating and sanitary needs, there may still be elements of the older systems to consider when carrying out repairs or maintenance that may carry heavier costs than repairing or replacing modern systems. For example, there could be an increased chance of old pipework leaking and therefore causing more damage.
Whilst researching listed building insurance, you will find that, in general, the older the property the more expensive the insurance becomes. With very old properties you are likely to find even less insurers are prepared to offer a quote, restricting the choices available to you.
How the rebuild cost affects how much you pay for listed building insurance
As with all buildings, listed properties will vary in value. However, it is not the market value of the property that affects how much you pay for listed building insurance, it is the cost to rebuild. The rebuild cost defines the extent of the financial risk the insurer is taking on. Don’t confuse the rebuild cost with the market value of the property. The market value of a listed property can be significantly lower than the amount it would cost to rebuild it.
“…if disaster does happen to your property, you will be required BY LAW to reinstate with traditional materials and methods that match the original regardless of cost”
If you are unsure what the rebuild cost is, make sure you source an accurate valuation from a Chartered Surveyor or professional organisation with expertise in historic and listed buildings. You may or may not be aware that if disaster does happen to your property, you will be required by law to reinstate with traditional materials and methods that match the original regardless of cost. Therefore it is imperative never to go without the right level of cover by underestimating the rebuild cost of your listed property (under insurance). In the event of a claim, this could leave you facing substantial financial difficulties in trying to meet the costs of the specialist repairs required to put the property back to how it was. Most insurers will only pay a proportion of the claim up to the sum insured if you have under insured, and in extreme circumstances of Underinsurance may refuse your claim altogether.
What else affects home insurance costs?
Home insurance premiums are determined by many different factors. So what else contributes to the premiums you pay? The following factors can influence any type of home insurance and include, but are not limited to:
- Home insurance claims history – including whether you have claimed in recent years, whether you have had insurance refused or declined or terms imposed on a policy
- Home security – considerations to the types of locks, alarms or other measures taken to secure your home
- Where you live – the location of your property, and for example the risk it may possess from perils such as flood
- The Cost to Rebuild and age of the property – how much your home will cost to rebuild in the event of a total loss, including the costs of clearance of land
- Property type – the type of property in which you live and the materials from which it was constructed
- Property Size – the number of rooms in the house and the number of outbuildings such as sheds, garages, summer houses
- Property Usage – the way your home is occupied and the way you use it e.g, run a business from home or let it out
- Personal circumstances – circumstances such as your financial stability and any criminal offences
So in summary, the amount you will pay for your listed building home insurance will depend on many of these factors, as well as those specific to your listed building. To recap insurers will need to know the grade of listing, the age and type of construction and an ACCURATE rebuild cost.
Intelligent Insurance provide specialist listed building insurance cover. We have the experience and specialist knowledge to offer an instant online quote in most cases. If you have any questions, our skilled advisers are ready to offer their advice.
Request an online quote or contact the team on 03333 11 11 10.