Insuring a listed building

Living in a listed property can be a wonderful experience for the owner, taking enjoyment from many rare architectural features and unique designs. However, such properties are also subject to stricter legislation and regulations when it comes to repair and reinstatement. As such, it’s vitally important you are correctly insured to ensure that in the unfortunate event of serious damage occurring at the home, you don’t underinsure or leave yourself exposed to costs not covered by a standard home insurance policy.

Factors to consider when insuring a listed building

Be mindful that in the event of damage, the cost to repair or reinstate is likely to be higher than a modern home, as you will be required to use building materials in keeping with the original construction of the home, potentially even using the same building techniques that were originally used. These costs can escalate quickly, and an inadequate buildings sum insured may be exhausted quickly.

Alternative accommodation – it’s possible that your home will not be habitable following a significant loss, and you will need to seek temporary accommodation elsewhere. Your stay in an alternative residence may be longer whilst work is done to your home, as it will usually take longer to not only source the unique materials required, but also reinstate using the original techniques, as highlighted above, both of which will be dependant on the availability of such a specialist craftsman. Ensure that the Alternative Accommodation extension under your household policy allows for:

  • Comparative alternative accommodation to your existing circumstances (including animals, domestic staff etc)
  • A generous sum insured for costs and a potentially lengthy duration

An allowance also needs to be made for additional rebuild expenses including architects, legal, surveyors and other associated fees, which will be higher for listed properties due to requirements of the local planning authority.

Ensure your insurer is aware of the building’s listed status. It might sound obvious, but there can sometimes be confusion about whether a building is listed, whether just part of the building is listed or the grade of listing. If a claim for damage to a listed building is submitted to an insurer who did not know they were insuring a listing building, there’s a strong possibility the claim would be repudiated.

How can I ensure I’m adequately covered?

Arrange for a suitably qualified surveyor to visit the property to provide a reinstatement cost for insurance purposes. According to specialist building insurance valuer, Barrett Corp Harrington, of the £3bn of listed buildings they assessed in 2017, 86% were underinsured, with an average increase of 49%. At Alastair James Insurance Brokers, we have access to a number of insurers who specialise in listed buildings insurance and who will provide access to specialist surveyors, such as BCH, to assist you in arriving at the correct buildings sum insured. The cost of this is often covered by the insurer as it ensures:

a) You are correctly insured and have the peace of mind that in the event of a significant loss, you do not need to worry about being underinsured.

b) The insurer has a full understanding and insight of the property they are insuring, so again, in the event of a claim, there are no unforeseen circumstances which the insurer was not aware.

If you would like to find out more or receive a no-obligation quotation for your listed property, do please telephone the office or send us an enquiry.