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Listed buildings insurance

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Listed buildings insurance

Buying a listed property puts you in the privileged position of owning a piece of history. But finding home insurance for a listed building can be tricky. Luckily, we’re here to help.

What is a listed building?

A building can be listed when it has special architectural features or is of historical interest and importance. Generally, the older the building, the more likely it is to be listed.

There are two main ways for a building to become listed in England. Firstly, you can nominate a building or monument to Historic England, which is responsible for protecting the country’s historical environment.

Secondly, Historic England can choose to designate listed status to buildings, based on its own research and priorities. Typically, a building has to be more than 30 years old to be listed.

There are around 500,000 listed buildings in England and these fall into one of three categories:

  • Grade I buildings are of exceptional interest. It’s a pretty exclusive group, with only 2.5% of listed buildings classified as Grade I.
  • Grade II* buildings are of particular interest; 5.8% of all listed buildings fall into this category.
  • Grade II structures are of special interest. If your home is a listed building, generally speaking it will be a Grade II; with 92% of all listed buildings falling into this class.

What does listed building insurance cover?

Listed building cover varies, depending on the insurance provider. If you’re looking for a listed property insurance policy, it could be worth considering the following:

  • Does the policy offer damage cover for the brickwork of the building, including any damage caused by fire, flood or storm?
  • Does it cover the cost of specialist materials and labour?
  • Does the policy provide alternative accommodation cover if your home becomes uninhabitable? If it does, there’s usually a maximum amount you can claim, so make sure you’re happy with any limits imposed.

Remember, an insurance policy is there to protect you against sudden, unforeseen incidents and it won’t cover routine maintenance of a property or any issues that arise due to wear and tear.

Maintaining your period home is vital to minimising the sorts of problems associated with older properties. Try to keep your home protected against damp, make sure there are no blockages in drains and check your roof regularly for any broken tiles or signs of a leak.

Maintaining your listed building

Regular maintenance not only preserves the original beauty of your listed home, it can also reduce the risk of having to make an insurance claim.

Small problems can quickly turn into expensive repairs, so it’s important to keep on top of issues. For example:

  • Use a maintenance checklist to carry out routine inspections throughout the year and after bad weather.
  • Secure your home against damp. Regularly check the roof, guttering and drains for leaks and blockages.
  • Check for any signs of water penetration and damage, such as rotting timber, flaking plaster and crumbling brickwork.

What’s the average cost for listed buildings insurance?

There’s no average cost for listed buildings insurance, as each property is unique. For example, a Tudor house built with timber, wattle and daub is likely to cost more to insure than a Victorian property built from bricks and mortar.

In general, the older and more unique a property, the more expensive it will be to insure.

Frequently asked questions

How does a building become listed?

A building can be nominated for listed status by anyone, via the heritage body for the relevant country:

  • England – Historic England
  • Scotland – Historic Environment Scotland
  • Wales – Cadw
  • Northern Ireland – Northern Ireland Environment Agency

Alternatively, the heritage body can designate a building as listed, based on its own interests and checklist.

To find out if a building is already listed, contact the relevant heritage body for your country.

What parts of a house are listed?

Exactly what a listing covers will vary according to the property, so you’ll need to check with your local planning authority to find out the specifics.

In most cases, the entire property is covered by the listing. That means outbuildings, extensions and, in properties built before 1948, often the land surrounding it.

What does it mean for me if my house is listed?

A building is listed to protect it from unsupervised change. That means you’ll need listed building consent from your local planning authority to carry out any work on your home.

It also means you’ll need to pay particular attention to the types of materials used in any repair work, and source craftsmen who are skilled in the original building methods.

Although all this might sound like an inconvenience, keeping your building as true to its original state as possible means that everyone can continue to enjoy it as a little slice of history.

Can I make alterations to my listed building?

Any alterations to a listed building that could affect its character will require listed building consent from your local planning authority.

Before making any changes to your property, contact your local authority conservation department to check if you need permission.

Be aware that carrying out unauthorised alterations to a listed building is a criminal offence when consent is required and could lead to prosecution.

How does listed building consent differ in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales?

In Wales, you’ll need consent from the local planning authority who, in turn, apply to the planning division of the Welsh government for consent.

In most cases, the application is then referred to Cadw – the Welsh government’s historic environment service. Some local planning authorities in Wales have permission to agree consent for Grade II listed buildings without needing to notify Cadw.

In Scotland, the local authority is the main point of contact for listed building consent. They’ll consider applications in line with guidance from Historic Environment Scotland.

In Northern Ireland, listed buildings are graded differently. They’re categorised from B2, B1 and B+, to A – for an exceptionally grand building. Any plans to change your home must be agreed by your local council, which consults the Historic Environment Division in the Department for Communities.

Do I need listed building insurance?

Listed building home insurance is specific to the needs of the individual building; it’s not as straightforward as standard buildings insurance and you may find that you’re restricted by the amount of policies on offer.

There are some specialist listed building insurance providers, but some standard providers will accept listed buildings too or may have their own listed building insurance. Either way, you’ll probably find that your insurance premiums are higher than if you lived in a standard property.

What add-ons can I get for my listed buildings insurance?

If you want extra cover included in your listed buildings insurance, you might want to consider the following add-ons:

  • Accidental damage - this could cover any accidental damage to your property, such as a broken window.
  • Home emergency cover - can cover the costs of emergency callouts and repairs. For example, if your boiler breaks down or if you have a burst pipe.
  • Personal possessions - this can cover items you take out of your home, such as jewellery, purses, laptops and phones.
  • Legal expenses - covers the cost of legal assistance for any property disputes or claims raised against you.
  • Unoccupied property insurance - this can protect your listed building if it’s empty for more than 30 consecutive days.

Some specialist listed buildings policies may include certain add-ons as standard, so check before taking out extra cover.

Why is it harder to find cheap listed building insurance?

Insurance providers might consider the following factors when insuring a listed building, all of which could increase the cost of your premium:

  • The rebuild cost of your home takes into account that materials may be difficult or expensive to source, and that you may need a specialist tradesman to do the work. A higher rebuild cost can result in more expensive premiums. It might be worthwhile getting a professional rebuild cost valuation.
  • Old properties haven’t been built to our modern standards, so they’re more likely to have problems such as subsidence and damp, and often have issues with the roof and drainage. This increased risk to an insurance provider may mean a higher premium for you.
  • Many listed buildings have a thatched roof and this can have implications for your premium. Thatched roofs need replacing every 10-15 years and can be costly to fix if damaged. And you’ll need extra fire precautions too, particularly if you use the fireplace. You’ll find insurance for non-standard properties, such as those with a thatched roof, is usually more expensive than for a standard home.

How can I get a good deal on listed building insurance?

It might not be as straightforward when you’re insuring a listed building, but use our comparison service and we’ll help you find listed buildings insurance that offers the right cover for you.

How much does home insurance cost?

Half our customers could save up to
£103
on their buildings and contents insurance**
Half our customers could get contents insurance for
£69
a year***
Half our customers could get buildings insurance for
£114
a year****

**Based on online independent research by Consumer Intelligence during May 2020. 50% of customers could achieve this saving on their Buildings and Contents insurance with Compare the Market.

***50% of people could achieve a quote of £69 per year for their contents home insurance based on Compare the Market data in May 2020.

****50% of people could achieve a quote of £114 per year for their buildings home insurance based on Compare the Market data in May 2020.

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What do I need to get a quote?

Before starting a quote, it’s a good idea to have some basic information to hand, including:

  • your current home insurance policy documents
  • details about your property
  • details about yourself, your employment and your claims history
  • the rebuild value of your listed home.

You can then choose the level of cover you need, and any extras you’d like to add.

Chris King

From the Home team

What our expert says

“Listed building insurance may be more expensive than standard home insurance, but when you consider that repairs could potentially cost thousands of pounds, it’s worth paying for the peace of mind that your period home is protected.

Shopping around and comparing quotes could help you find the protection you need at an affordable price.”

Why use Compare the Market?

We compare 74 home insurance products^^ Get a quote in 12 minutes^^^ 94.6% of customers found our prices competitive or very competitive^^^^

^^Correct as of May 2020.

^^^On average it can take less than 12 minutes to complete a home insurance quote through Compare the Market, based on data in May 2020.

^^^^For the period 1st March 2020 to 31st May 2020, 1,2690 people responded to the question “When completing a quote using CtM, how did you find it?” 1,220 responded with ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’ (94.6%)

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