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

Sometimes the age of your home will make a difference to the cost of insurance. Find out why age matters with our guide to insuring older houses.

Sometimes the age of your home will make a difference to the cost of insurance. Find out why age matters with our guide to insuring older houses.

Rachel Lacey
Insurance and money expert
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Last Updated 26 SEPTEMBER 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 new build. This is because many insurance providers consider period properties a higher risk. Old plumbing, wiring and roofing can all increase the chances of claiming.

Period properties – for example Victorian and Edwardian-era houses – typically cost more to repair than new buildings. Not only are materials more expensive to source and replace, but repairs may also need to be carried out by more highly-skilled 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 cost to rebuild your home – insurance providers will always request the rebuild cost for your home. This is the cost of rebuilding it from scratch, not its market value. If your home is an older or listed building, rebuild costs are likely to be higher, because the materials required will be more expensive.
  • The risk of subsidence
    Older properties can be more prone to subsidence because they have shallower foundations. Subsidence occurs 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
    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, your insurance may be more expensive. The longer you can go without claiming, the cheaper your insurance is likely to be.
  • Whether your house is occupied
    Empty houses pose a greater risk to insurance providers. If you need to leave your property unoccupied for more than 30 days, you may need to pay extra for your insurance, or risk your cover being invalidated.

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 home insurance. 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 lay gravel on your footpath or drive (the noise of walking across this deters burglars).

Buy a combined insurance policy

It’s sometimes 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 the best way to find  better value home insurance. 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?

Sometimes. In some areas, period properties will be particularly desirable and if your home commands a high price, thieves are likely to assume there will be rich pickings. At the other end of the scale, cheaper period homes occupied by students can also be an easy target for thieves. In addition to potentially lax security, there’s likely to plenty of laptops, phones and other gadgets lying around.

If a period property is badly maintained – for example, the doors and windows aren’t replaced or upgraded – it’s also likely to be an easy target for thieves.

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, it’s worth looking at the paperwork you received when you bought the property. Alternatively, you can contact HM Land Registry. They only keep copies of land ownership – not what’s built on the land but 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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