What’s the cost of insurance for an old house?

Ever wondered how your home’s age affects your home insurance? Read our guide to find out how much home insurance premiums can differ for an older house.

Ever wondered how your home’s age affects your home insurance? Read our guide to find out how much home insurance premiums can differ for an older house.

Chris King
Home insurance expert
4
minute read
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Posted 26 FEBRUARY 2020 Last Updated 1 APRIL 2022

Will the age of my house affect my home insurance? 

Yes, insuring an older home – including Victorian and inter-war properties – can be more expensive than insuring a modern house. This is because many insurance providers consider period properties a higher risk. Old plumbing, wiring and roofing can all increase the chances that you’ll need to make a claim.

Period properties – for example, Victorian and Edwardian-era houses – typically cost more to repair than new buildings. That’s because it’s often more expensive to source and replace materials. Repairs can also require more highly skilled builders and tradespeople.

What other factors affect the cost of insuring an old house? 

When you get a home insurance quote, you’ll be asked the date your house was built. Other factors, some of which are related to age, can also affect the cost of your insurance. These include: 

  • Your postcode 
    Insurance providers will take into account factors such as local crime rates and whether you live in an urban or rural area.
  • The risk of subsidence 
    Because they tend to have shallower foundations, older properties can be more prone to subsidence, which is when the ground underneath a property sinks, pulling the house with it. 
  • Flood risk 
    This will depend more on your property’s location than its age, although newer properties may have better flood defences in place. 
  • Your home’s security features 
    Having ample home security, such as burglar alarms and CCTV, may lower your insurance premium.
  • Your claims history
    If you’ve made claims in the past, this may affect how much you pay for your premium.   
  • Whether your house is occupied
    If your house is left empty for more than 30 days, this may affect the cost of your insurance or even invalidate it.  
  • The cost to rebuild your home

To avoid being underinsured, you’ll need to insure your house against the cost of rebuilding it – not its market value. If you own a listed property built with original materials, this could end up being extremely high.  

How do I find out if my house is listed?  

To find out if your property is listed, contact the relevant heritage body for your country:

Read more about home insurance if you live in a listed building.

How can I reduce the cost of insuring a period property?

Although home insurance for a period property may cost more than it would for a new build, there are still ways to cut the cost of your premium. For example, you could:

Improve your security
There’s a lot you can do to boost security without ruining the look and character of your old house. Several brands make smart CCTV cameras you can control from your phone. You could also add exterior LED security lights or gravel your footpath or drive (the noise of walking across this deters burglars).

Buy a combined insurance policy
It can sometimes be cheaper to combine your building and contents insurance in one policy.

Improve fire safety
It’s always advisable to install smoke detectors, particularly if your home has a thatched roof.

Stay on top of maintenance
By properly maintaining your property, you can make sure small issues don’t turn into expensive disasters. Regularly clear guttering and drains, and check for signs of damp and mould to keep your home in a good state of repair.

Shop around
Shopping around is a great way to find a better home insurance deal. But don’t consider price alone. You’ll want to make sure you’re getting a level of cover that suits the needs of an older house.

How can I compare home insurance for an old house? 

You can compare quotes for a range of insurance deals for your older property with us. Just answer a few questions and within minutes you’ll receive a list of suitable quotes to choose from.
 
Compare home insurance today and see if you could save on your next premium.  

Frequently asked questions

Does your property’s age affect the likelihood of a burglary?

There are some reasons why it might. For example, in some areas period properties are considered highly desirable, which may make them targets for thieves. In other areas, period properties tend to be shared student houses, which can be prone to being burgled. 

If a period property is badly maintained – for example, the doors and windows aren’t replaced or upgraded – burglars could well find it easy pickings. 

When were most UK homes built?

The UK has large stocks of Victorian housing, particularly in its cities. The largest proportion of homes in England were built before 1919, but you’ll also find plenty of 1930s homes, especially in cities like Birmingham. These properties make great family homes, but can need a lot of maintenance.

What if I don’t know when my house was built?

If you’re not sure when your home was built, you can contact HM Land Registry. Although they only keep copies of land ownership – not what’s built on the land – they can tell you the date of the developer’s first transfer or lease, which will usually tell you the rough age of the property.

Other ways to find out your property’s age

Not sure how old your home is? To find out, you can: 

  • Check your survey
  • Contact your local authority – they may be able to tell you when planning permission was granted
  • Ask your seller or the estate agent (if you’re in the process of buying a property)
  • Ask a neighbour.

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