Non-Standard Home Insurance
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What is non-standard home insurance?
Home insurance is essential if you own your own home, but what if your property has non-standard features like a thatched roof? Non-standard home insurance is available from many providers, so if your circumstances or home are unique, you can still make sure you’re covered.
What is considered a non-standard home?
Any home which is built of unusual or non-traditional materials may be considered to be non-standard by insurers. Normally, this includes any house built from things other than brick or stone, which are the most common types of building in the UK.
Thatched roof homes
If your home has a thatched roof, this is also usually classed as non-standard for insurance purposes. A standard roof would be made of slate or tile. Thatched rooves have been in use for many hundreds of years and are still popular today. However, replacing such a roof requires specialist skills. This may mean that in the event of a claim, the cost of replacing a thatched roof is higher than for a standard construction roof. If your home has a thatched roof, you will almost certainly need non-standard insurance.
Prefab homes were built after the second world war, to meet the housing shortage. Quick to construct, they were never intended to be long-term homes, although many are still standing.
Built from steel and concrete, prefab homes do not usually meet the criteria for standard home insurance policies. Even if a prefab home has a brick facade, behind this there may be structural problems such as rusting steel, or crumbling concrete.
Recognising these challenges, insurers will usually require non-standard cover for such buildings.
Non-standard building materials
If your home is built from anything other than brick or stone, you might still need non-standard home insurance. This includes houses built from cob and clunch. Cob is a mixture of lime, straw and soil mixed to a rudimentary cement consistency. Clunch is a kind of chalky limestone mix. Many houses built with it are still standing, but as repairs to such buildings need specialist skills, insurance costs can be higher.
Timber frame houses
Some insurers will consider timber frame houses to be non-standard for insurance purposes. Despite having been used for centuries, timber frames can be at a higher risk of rot, which can lead to structural problems.
Insuring a non-standard home
As well as the construction of your home, insurers will also look at other factors which could affect the overall risk. If any of the following risk factors apply to your home or situation, you might need non-standard home insurance:
- Subsidence. Even if the problem has been rectified, some insurers are reluctant to offer cover to houses which have been underpinned. In these cases, you will need to take out specialist non-standard cover, to reflect the higher risk.
- Flooding. Living in a high flood risk area can increase the cost of home insurance premiums. If your home has previously been flooded, taking out a non-standard policy can ensure you maintain cover, despite the increased risk.
- Mature trees close to the property. Tree roots spread widely underground and can interfere with the foundations of a building. There is also an increased risk that your home may be damaged if mature trees are close enough to fall on your home during high winds or storms.
- Large flat roofed properties. These can be more prone to leaks, causing damage to buildings.
- Homes empty for more than 30 days. Unoccupied properties are at much greater risk of damage, theft, and disrepair. If you are away from your property for extended periods, either for work or travel, you may need to consider non-standard insurance to make sure you are fully covered.
- Listed buildings. Buildings of special or historical interest can make great homes. However, repairs and maintenance costs can be much higher than for standard homes, as they will require special skills and permissions. If your home is listed, insurers are likely to require you to take out non-standard cover to reflect the special circumstances.
What is the cost of non-standard home insurance?
Many people worry that if they have a non-standard home, they will struggle to find insurance cover. The good news is that there are a wide variety of specialist non-standard insurance policies available.
Because the risks associated with properties of this type can be greater, premium costs may be higher than for standard construction properties. The cost of rebuilding or repairing homes built using specialist materials or unique techniques are likely to be higher than replacing standard brick and tile homes. By shopping around and comparing quotes from a range of providers, you can make sure you have the best cover for your unique circumstances.
Do I need non-standard home insurance?
Any home you own should be covered by an insurance policy to protect you in case of damage or loss. For non-standard properties, normal house insurance policies may not cover the specific risks associated (e.g. Flooding).
The specialist skills required to work on such properties cost more than normal building repairs too, so a higher level of cover is needed.
My house is listed, can I still get home insurance?
A listed building will usually have special features which are considered important to preserve. This might be examples of traditional building techniques or use of other materials which would be costly to repair or replace if damaged.
Many standard house insurance policies may not cover these types of specialist works. So if your home is a listed building, you will probably need to take out non-standard home insurance.
Do only old buildings need non-standard home insurance?
No. While many traditional buildings are not made of brick, stone or tile, the same can be said for new builds. Many modern designs use glass, steel or timber frames too, all of which will need non-standard home insurance.
If your home has eco-friendly features such as a living roof or uses modern prefab techniques such as HUF Haus, then you will need a specialist home insurance policy.