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Non-standard construction home insurance

Does your home have cladding, a thatched roof or a timber frame? If so, you could need specialist home insurance. Here’s what you need to know.

Does your home have cladding, a thatched roof or a timber frame? If so, you could need specialist home insurance. Here’s what you need to know.

Written by
Anna McEntee
Insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
Last Updated
16 MARCH 2023
3 min read
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What is a non-standard construction?

Non-standard construction refers to homes built from non-typical materials. This generally means those with walls that aren’t made from stone or brick, and which don’t have slate or tile roofs. These sorts of homes aren’t normally covered by standard home insurance

With centuries of house building under the nation’s collective belt, non-standard homes aren’t as unusual as you might think. They can include:

  • Steel or timber-framed buildings. 
  • Homes built with alternative construction materials. Including flint, straw bale, cob, wattle and daub, grass and peat walls, and some cladding. 
  • Homes with a thatched, plastic, rubber or shingle roof. Around 60,000 UK homes have a thatched roof. This number is increasing as some new properties are built with a roof made of thatch.   
  • Flat-roof homes. 
  • Modular and pre-fabricated homes – such as HUF HAUS. 

What counts as a non-standard property for home insurance?

It isn’t just houses built from unusual materials that count as non-standard properties for home insurance. You may also need non-standard home insurance if:  

Why do I need non-standard construction insurance? 

You need non-standard construction insurance as claims for these types of properties are likely to be expensive. And that’s down to several reasons:

  • Replacing or repairing parts of the building is likely to cost more, due to higher material or labour costs.
  • Non-standard homes may require more ongoing maintenance, as the materials they’re built from can be more prone to damage.
  • There may be fewer tradesmen with the expertise to maintain or repair non-standard properties, meaning they charge higher fees. 
  • Repairing non-standard properties may take longer, again making claims potentially more expensive. 

What do I need to tell my insurance provider if I live in a non-standard building? 

When you get a quote, you’ll be asked about the construction of your home, including what it’s made of, when it was built and if it’s listed. 
 
Your answers will allow the insurance provider to decide whether to classify it as non-standard or not, whether to offer you a policy and for how much. 

If you’re not sure what your home is made of, check the deeds. Be aware that some concrete and prefab – or prefabricated reinforced concrete (PRC) homes (such as Hawksley PRC houses) – have a brick façade. 

Make sure you have the necessary documents to support your application for insurance. For example, if you live in a thatched property that’s had a fire-retardant spray applied to the roof, be sure to keep the certificate.

Frequently asked questions

How much is non-standard home insurance?

How much you pay for your home insurance will depend on your individual circumstances. As well as the type of home you live in, insurance providers will take into account other factors, such as where you live, the size of your home and how old it is. 

How can I pay less for non-standard home insurance?

You can help to reduce the cost of your non-standard home insurance by:  

  • Paying annually (this is usually cheaper than paying monthly) 
  • Building up a no claims discount 
  • Paying a higher voluntary excess
  • Comparing home insurance to get suitable cover at the right price for you. 

How can I work out the cost of rebuilding a non-standard property?

Using a home rebuild calculator can make calculating the rebuild cost of your non-standard home easier. The rebuild cost is the amount of money it would cost to rebuild your home if it was completely destroyed.

The materials needed to rebuild a non-standard home can be harder to source and the construction methods less commonly used, which can push up the rebuild cost. 

When you get a buildings insurance quote with us, we’ll help you work out how much it would cost to rebuild your home.

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Anna McEntee - Insurance comparison expert

Anna’s all about delivering fantastic insurance products at a great price. Value is the most important thing for Anna, as she cuts through the jargon and finds what’s most important and worth your hard-earned money.

Learn more about Anna

Kate Hughes - Insurance and finance expert

As an award-winning journalist, author and broadcast commentator, Kate has been writing about personal finance for more than 20 years. She’s the former Money Editor for The Independent. Her work has appeared across the UK broadsheets as well as a number of international titles. Kate brings her financial expertise to inform her readers on ways to save money. She’s also written a book. ‘Going Zero: One Family’s Journey to Zero Waste and a Greener Lifestyle’ is available now.

Learn more about Kate

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