Having a heritage or listed building to call your home is an honour and a joy – but it’s also a huge responsibility when it comes to looking after it.
FOCUS are experts in providing bespoke home insurance solutions for listed and heritage buildings. We can help you protect your home from the additional risks and concerns that can arise from living in a listed building.
With such wonderful buildings across the United Kingdom, there are a wide range of historic homes from traditional Grade II listed terraced cottages to grand, detached properties that people call home today.
We understand it’s the specialist characteristics that make historic and architecturally interesting homes unique – and as a proud homeowner, you want to keep it that way.
We are here to help to make sure you can protect what can’t easily be replaced.
As experts with access to specialist insurance solutions for heritage properties, we work with our clients to put in place the right cover to meet individual needs.
We can also assist in providing building valuations to make sure that if you need to make repairs, renovate or just maintain your listed building – you can do safely in the knowledge that you are covered.
The correct cover for your property, and everything inside it
We have access to a wide range of home insurance providers that can provide cover for your listed building.
When considering home insurance, it usually makes sense to combine the cover for the building itself, the contents and all your personal possessions and valuables – under one policy. This means that in the event of a claim that has an impact on both the structure of the building itself and damage to contents, it’s just one insurer and one loss adjuster to deal with. This can make life significantly easier when you’re faced with the stress of damage to your home
Many of our providers offer higher single article limits than a comparable ‘of the shelf’ policy. This means that even if you have a collection of jewellery, fine art or other valuables, as long as collectively the sum insured reflects the total value, the single article limits are often high enough that each item does not need to be listed separately. The exact limits vary by provider but offer flexibility for listed building and high value homeowners.
Contents cover for your home can include:
Caring for a heritage building
The fact your home has stood for a considerable amount of time means imaging a scenario where it required serious repairs can seem unthinkable. When your home has been damaged, repairing it whilst preserving its natural character is a real challenge and needs to be done in accordance with the listed building stipulations. This is where having the right home insurance in place is essential.
Protecting and caring for your home can seem a minefield, and you are not alone if you think so. Almost 30% of those occupying a heritage building are not aware of the skills required if their home requires repairs and/or necessary restoration.
With many heritage homes falling into less populated areas, the availability of suitable tradesmen can be a serious challenge for homeowners. When performing work on a listed building there are numerous craft skills that may be required, such as stonemasons, thatchers and brick making.
Unfortunately, these types of speciality occupations are dying out. This makes sourcing the correct help extremely challenging when your home needs attention. All too often homeowners of listed and heritage buildings turn to local tradesmen, and sadly this can result in more damage being caused.
Working with our specialist providers for listed building home insurance we can help alleviate the stress of sourcing the correct craftsman to repair your house.
Ensure your home’s valuation is accurate
Even beyond specialist listed home insurance, undervaluation is common when obtaining a house insurance policy, resulting in underinsurance. When insuring heritage homes, undervaluing the true cost to rebuild can result in a shortfall in insurance payouts, leaving you to cover the difference.
One of the main reasons for a buildings sum insured being too low is that the amount of cover is often taken from the mortgage or current market valuation. However, this is not an insurance valuation which needs to reflect the cost of reinstating the building from scratch. The materials and skilled trades needed to rebuild a listed building can be significant – and substantially more than the market value of the property.
That’s why, when seeking home insurance for a listed building, having an expert help you work through the process can be hugely beneficial. The team at FOCUS can help walk you through the level of cover you may require and reduce the chances of being underinsured.
The unique character of your home is based on a number of elements, including the materials used in construction and how your home’s aesthetic was created. A common cause of insurance shortfall is the inherent cost of sourcing materials and specialist tradespeople.
We have access to providers that include index-linking within their policy. This assists in covering the sliding scale of costs incurred to repair your heritage home. This is on the proviso that you’ve not modified or extended the building. For example, added an orangery or kitchen extension which would have an impact on the underlying buildings sum insured.
For example, a listed home may be properly restored with stone that can only be sourced from one quarry. If that quarry had to be reopened especially to acquire the new materials the resulting costs can be huge. A correct cost index can adjust for the relative financial impact of such aspects when repairing your home.
Listed Building Home Insurance FAQs
Our home insurance solutions are available for all grades of listed properties. This includes:
Grade 1 – These are the least common, and currently make up just 2.5% of all listed buildings in the United Kingdom. A Grade 1 property is considered to have exceptional interest to the public interest.
Grade 2* – These are buildings that are regarded as a special interest, these make up 5.5% of all listed properties.
Grade 2 – Make up the majority of listed buildings in the United Kingdom. Many of these will be normal homes that are used by families, and as such will be the most likely to require listed building home insurance.
Currently, Historic England has criteria for 20 different types of buildings that may be eligible for listed status. Of those 4 types are considered to be ‘Domestic’, these are:
Vernacular Houses – Those created locally without professional architects. Often this type of home has a unique regional style and as such can be said to be part of the local historic culture
Town Houses – Those situated in cities, often terraced and with multiple floors. Town houses range from grand aristocratic buildings to more simple worker homes.
Suburban and Country Homes – Often situated on large grounds and can range from grand estates to country cottages
Modern Homes – Encompassing most listed buildings created in the last 100 years, including ultra-contemporary homes, blocks of flats and innovative takes on domestic architecture.
Yes, our insurance solutions are not exclusively for listed buildings. The same providers can also provide adequate protection for those living in heritage homes that are not currently listed.
Not necessarily. Although many listed buildings are grand properties with a high value of contents such as art and antiques, there are also smaller homes that are listed.
It is likely that a large, detached listed building will require a bespoke high-value home insurance policy, with a specialist provider that can provide cover for the additional risks involved.
However, if your home is a smaller listed cottage or part of a row of listed terraced townhouses, it may well be that cover can be provided under a conventional home insurance policy.
The key point is having the home insurance solution to meet your needs. The team at FOCUS are able to find the right home insurance policy for your listed building, ensuring that the cover suits your needs and lifestyle.
If a standard “off the shelf” policy is chosen, it is likely that it won’t cover the extra risks and costs involved that would be provided under a specialist listed home insurance policy.
Choosing a low cost option can seem a good idea in the short term, but if you live in a heritage property, the impact of a claim can be financially devastating if the cover isn’t adequate. We recommend taking out cover that provides the amount of protection your home and circumstances dictate – and therefore gives you peace of mind.
If your home becomes listed by your local authority this is certainly something that should be discussed with your current home insurance provider. The nature of listed status means rebuilding and repairs would be affected in the event of a claim.
The former is designed with unique, high value and listed homes in mind. In particular, that means providing cover for the complex task of repairs in the event of making a claim, including finding the right contractor for the job.
Non-standard home insurance can be considered an umbrella term that may include listed buildings. This type of cover often applies to properties in high flood risk areas, non-standard construction or those who have previously experienced subsidence.
Yes, if any part of your property is listed then a policy that can cover its damage is essential. Common examples of objects that may be listed on your land include:
The terms under which you may be offered cover from insurance providers varies. In our experience, the vast majority of insurers will require an appraisal before they formally provide cover. This is often a simple desktop appraisal, although in certain conditions this may be changed to in-person survey on your home.
Furthermore, the security and safety of your home will play into how likely insurers are to offer cover. This doesn’t mean cover will be refused by these providers, instead, recommendations may be made that will be compulsory to allow the insurer to cover you.
A common example in listed buildings is fire detectors. Battery-operated alarms can be unreliable and lead to increased risk of damage, and therefore increased risk to the insurer. As such some providers may request you add mains fire alarms to your property to lessen the risks of severe fire damage.
Each property is considered on its own merit with additional requirements suited to its needs.
Underinsurance is a well-known and all too common issue when it comes to home insurance cover. Living in a listed home only increases the chances of being underinsured so it’s important to understand the difference between your property’s market value and it’s inherent rebuild cost.
We have access to a number of specialist providers who can help understand these key figures and reduce the chances of being underinsured. This gives a huge advantage vs. comparison site insurance which will not advise you in the same way. Throughout the application process, you will not only have specialist insurers but also our own experienced team to assist in gaining cover.
You could choose to insure your listed property separately for buildings and contents insurance.
However, we would usually recommend an insurer that provides all the cover you need under one policy.
Not only does it make your insurance simpler to manage but also means that, in the event of a claim that affects both the building itself and your possessions, you have just one insurer and one loss adjuster to deal with.
What is The Average Clause?
When it comes to insurance premiums we all want to keep them as low as possible. However, you need to consider the average clause when taking out cover to ensure you won’t be left footing the bill in the event of a claim.
An insurer will only pay out relative to the amount of cover you have paid for with your premium, even if you don’t require the full amount your property is insured for.
For example, if your property is worth £500,000 but you choose to insure for a maximum of £250,000 then you will only ever be entitled to half of the actual cost of any claim. This includes smaller claims, so if you need to claim £10,000 you would only get £5,000.
That’s why getting your cover correct is so essential, as you could end up paying for the shortfall if you are underinsured.
This handy video explains Average Clause in more detail: