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Specialist home insurance

If you have a home that’s built with unusual materials, live in a flood-risk area or have a poor credit history, you may need specialist home insurance. Find out why standard cover might not be enough and how specialist home insurance can help.

If you have a home that’s built with unusual materials, live in a flood-risk area or have a poor credit history, you may need specialist home insurance. Find out why standard cover might not be enough and how specialist home insurance can help.

Written by
Helen Phipps
Insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Rachel Lacey
Insurance and money expert
Last Updated
18 OCTOBER 2022
4 min read
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What is specialist home insurance?

Specialist home insurance is for people whose property or personal situation isn’t entirely conventional. There could be a whole host of reasons why specialist cover might be required, from how your home is constructed to where it’s located or even how you plan to use it.

For example, you might have a thatched roof or particularly valuable possessions, live in flood-risk area or run a business from your home.

Chances are, you’ll only find out that you need specialist home insurance when you come to arrange your mortgage, have a valuation or try to insure your home.

What types of property need specialist home insurance?

Properties that might require specialist home cover typically include:

Homes of non-standard construction – from an insurer’s point of view, non-standard construction is likely to include any property that doesn’t have brick or stone walls, or have a slate or tile roof.

However, as always, what’s classed as non-standard may differ between insurance providers.

Thatched properties – thatched roofs can be a fire hazard and for this reason they’re regarded as higher risk than slates or tiles by insurance providers. Thatching is also a highly specialist trade, which can make them expensive to repair.

High net-worth homes – if your house is worth a lot of money or your belongings are particularly valuable, you may need ‘high net-worth’ home insurance. Whether you have a home cinema, a gym or priceless jewellery, cover can be arranged for individual items or collections that are worth more than the limits included on standard home insurance policies.

Listed buildings – if you live in a building of special historic interest, you’ll need permission to carry out repairs or alterations. Most listed buildings are over 100 years old and if they’re damaged will require specialist tradespeople and traditional materials, making them much more expensive to repair than modern and non-listed homes.

Why else might I need specialist home insurance?

As well as non-standard properties, other homes may need specialist insurance.

For example, the location of the property, what it’s used for or your personal circumstances may be considered too high-risk for a standard home insurance policy. These may include things like:

How the property is used may also mean you require specialist buildings or specialist contents insurance.

For example, you may need specialist home insurance if:

  • You work or run a business from your home (apart from clerical work)
  • You run a bed and breakfast or guest house
  • You’re a landlord and let your property to paying tenants.

Your own personal circumstances might also affect your eligibility for standard home insurance. This could include:

Is specialist home insurance more expensive than standard home insurance?

It can be. It depends on why your home or circumstances might be classed as special. If you have a valuable art collection, for example, the financial risk to an insurance provider if it’s damaged or destroyed is increased. This could mean you have to pay more for your home insurance.

Properties built with non-standard materials are likely to be more expensive to repair than other homes if they get damaged. Insurance providers may see this as a higher risk and you may find you’ll be charged more to insure your property.

Even though you may have to pay more for specialist home insurance, honesty is always the best policy. If you make a claim and you haven't told the insurance provider about any special circumstances, your claim may be rejected.

How do I know I need specialist home insurance?

You may have noticed that you get asked a lot of questions when you apply for home insurance. These are designed to root out risks that an insurance provider is happy to take on and give you a quote for.

At Comparethemarket, we have insurance providers that offer both standard and specialist home insurance. The process of comparing is simple. Once you’ve entered your details and answered some questions, we’ll show you quotes from insurance providers that are prepared to cover your home.

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Helen Phipps - insurance expert

Having worked in both sides of the industry, Helen’s a real insurance expert. She’s worked directly with several insurance providers and now Compare the Market. She’s always searching for the cheapest prices for customers and is passionate about saving people money. Being married with two kids, Helen knows all about the cost of living and the benefits of having the right products and insurance for the whole family.

Learn more about Helen

Rachel Lacey - Insurance and money expert

Rachel’s a self-confessed money nerd who’s been writing about personal finance for more than 20 years. She spent 17 years writing for Moneywise, including a few years as Editor, and likes making complicated subjects like insurance, pensions, investing and tax, easy for people to understand.

Learn more about Rachel

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