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 for you and what that could mean for your insurance bills.

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 for you and what that could mean for your insurance bills.

Chris King
From the Home team
3
minute read
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Posted 4 DECEMBER 2020

What is specialist home insurance?

Specialist home insurance is for people whose property or personal situation isn’t entirely conventional. There are several reasons why you might need it, from how your home is built to what you use it for.

Does your home have a thatched roof? Do you live in a flood-risk area? Have you’ve been refused insurance in the past? These are just a few of the things that mean you may need special treatment when taking out home cover.

You might not even realise you need specialist insurance until you come to arrange a mortgage, get a valuation or try to insure your property.

What types of property need specialist home insurance?

Properties that might require specialist home cover include:

Homes of non-standard construction – homes that aren't made from brick or stone walls, and don't have a tile or slate roof, are usually considered to be non-standard properties. However, what’s classed as non-standard may differ between insurance providers.

Thatched properties – thatched roofs are generally found on older properties. This puts them more at risk of fire damage than standard homes. Thatching can be expensive to fix, so you could be left with a hefty repair bill without the right cover.

High net-worth homes – if your house is worth a lot of money, or you have very valuable items in it, you may need ‘high net-worth’ home insurance. This provides cover for valuable homes and possessions. It can include individual items or collections worth a significant amount of money.

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, so can be very expensive to repair using traditional materials if they get damaged.

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.

  • business use, where you work from your home (apart from clerical work)
  • bed & breakfasts (guest houses) and hotels have their own specialist business insurance)
  • let properties

The circumstances of the person insuring the property might affect your insurance – for example, where you have:

  • adverse claims experience
  • had a previous insurance provider decline, void or cancel your policy  
  • bespoke requests and requirements
  • a high-risk occupation – if you’re a professional sportsman or sportswoman, for example
  • been declared bankrupt
  • have criminal convictions  

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 very valuable collection at home for example, the financial risk to an insurance provider if it’s damaged or destroyed is increased. This can mean you have to pay more for your insurance cover.

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 insurance, honesty is always the best policy. If you make a claim and you haven't told the insurance provider about any special circumstances, they could refuse to pay.

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 Compare the Market, we have insurance providers that cater for 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 insure your home. 

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