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Timber-framed building insurance

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Why do timber-framed homes need specialist insurance?

Timber-framed houses are still sometimes seen as a greater insurance risk when compared to houses constructed out of brick or stone. While this type of home is extremely eco-friendly, cheap to build and has the potential to save you money on central heating, historically they’ve had an increased risk of fire. This could cause particularly costly damage to the structure and contents of your home.

Timber-framed homes can fall victim to problems with damp, rot and pest infestations, such as beetles and woodworm. You can help prevent damp by ensuring gutters aren’t blocked or leaking, and by making sure you use the right render materials alongside good ventilation. Some pests are attracted to rotten wood so avoiding this kind of damage could potentially reduce the chance of an infestation. Good maintenance can save you long-term headaches.

Despite the fact that timber-framed buildings have been traditional in the UK for centuries, some insurance providers still consider them ‘non-standard’ and a small minority will refuse to insure them, or will only do so with a hefty price tag attached.

Nowadays, construction techniques have evolved substantially – making sustainable timber-framed homes fast to construct, a lot more durable and less vulnerable than they used to be. For example, the regulations around fire-proofing and damp-proofing (including the techniques used in both) have improved and been strengthened for modern buildings. As a result, modern timber-framed homes can be no more expensive to insure than any other type of building.

And that’s why comparing and finding the right insurance provider with experience of this kind of property can potentially save on your premiums. So let us do the hard work of investigating the market for you.

Do wattle and daub panels make a difference when insuring historic timber-framed homes?

Yes, they can, because fewer insurance providers cover this type of historic property so there’s less competition around price. Some providers shy away from insuring this type of timber-framed property because buildings with plaster panels, including period wattle-and-daub buildings, may be centuries old. These could be more expensive to repair if damaged because they can require specialist skills and materials, particularly if they’re listed and need to be faithfully restored.

But wattle and daub has some advantages for timber-framed buildings too. Its very flexibility matches that of timber frames; the infill panels move with the building, so can help avoid some of the problems that more fixed structures have.

My timber-framed property also has a thatched roof. Will that make a difference?

Potentially, yes. Thatched roofs also require specialist insurance as they too are perceived as having a greater risk of fire. You might be asked to take particular fire precautions and keep the roof well-maintained.

See more on insuring a home with a thatched roof.

Frequently asked questions

Will I pay more for timber-framed home insurance?

That depends on the insurance provider you choose. Just because your home may be classed as non-standard doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find a competitive quote.

The ideal way to make sure you get a good price for timber-framed home insurance is to compare quotes with us.

What will my policy cover me for?

This will vary from provider to provider, so it’s very important to read the fine print when assessing a quote. Some will provide cover for insect damage and rot, while others won’t. Compare quotes until you find the right level of cover to suit your needs.

What information do I need to provide when applying for non-standard home insurance?

It’s essential you clearly state that your home is timber-framed, as some insurance providers won’t offer cover for non-standard houses.

Timber-framed homes can vary hugely between self-built, very modern eco-home designs to listed buildings of wattle and daub. It’s important to tell your provider as much as possible about your home when you apply, to make sure you get the right cover. For example, when getting a quote, we’ll ask whether your timber-framed building has plaster panels.

You’ll also need to let the provider know if your timber-framed home was built without a foundation. This could increase your insurance premium, as timber-framed homes lacking a foundation could be more vulnerable to subsidence.

All of this information will make it possible for the insurance provider to supply you with its fairest quote.

How can I work out rebuild costs for my timber-frame home?

If you bought the property in the past five years, your home survey may include the rebuild cost. But if you’ve been living there longer, you may need to get an up-to-date assessment.
If your home is built with non-standard construction materials, is a listed building or was built before 1720, you may need to consult a chartered surveyor for an up-to-date rebuild cost. It’s recommended that you do this at least every five years.

How can I keep insurance costs down for my timber-framed home?

Making sure your property is in good repair and that any issues are prevented from occurring or are promptly dealt with will help keep your home protected. It could also have a positive impact on insurance costs as insurance providers will ask you about the state of repair of your property.

Comparing what’s on offer among different providers can also help make sure you get the cover you need in the most cost-effective way.

I have a log cabin. Does this require specialist insurance?

If your home is a log cabin with a a permanent address, then you can compare home insurance from the providers we offer at Compare the Market. But if the cabin doesn’t have a permanent address, then you’ll need specialist insurance.

If your cabin has been treated with fire-retardant protection when it was built, it’s worth letting your insurance provider know. Make sure your cabin is well-protected with appropriate security locks on doors and windows too.

If you rent out your log cabin as a holiday home, you should consider public liability insurance. You might also want to consider cover for loss of rental if the cabin becomes unusable if damaged through fire or flood, for example.

Get insurance for your timber-framed home

Compare quotes today for your timber-framed home to find a great-value deal. Give us a few details and we’ll gather a variety of quotes from some of the UK’s most respected home insurance providers.

How much does timber-framed building insurance cost?

Construction

The type of construction, such as plaster panels, could affect the price you pay.
Age and status

If your home is listed, this can make it more costly to insure.
Comparing makes sense

93.6%** of customers found our prices competitive or very competitive

**For the period 1st June 2020 to 31st August 2020, 1,496 people responded to the statement “I think the prices provided by CtM are….” 1,400 responded with ‘competitive’ or ‘very competitive’ (93.6%).

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What do I need to get a quote?

As well as personal details and the address of the property, you’ll need to give us the following information:

  • what type of home it is
  • when it was built and if it’s a listed building
  • how long you’ve lived there
  • the construction of the property, eg what the walls and roof are made from
  • whether the property is in a good state of repair or if any building work is being done
  • if there are any trees close to the property
  • if there is subsidence or cracks in the external walls
  • if the property has been flooded

We’ll also ask whether you want to insure your home contents too.

Chris King

From the Home team

What our expert says

“Timber-framed buildings can vary from modern, sustainable, system-built homes to ancient Tudor-built properties, each special in their own way. Compare expert providers, with experience of dealing with timber-framed buildings, to find competitively priced insurance for a policy that suits the build, age and risks in your home.”

Why use Compare the Market?

Get a quote for home insurance in 12 minutes^^ 95.1% of customers found our home insurance experience easy or very easy^^^

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

^^^For the period 1st June 2020 to 31st August 2020, 1,496 people responded to the question “When completing a quote using CtM, how did you find it?” 1,422 responded with ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’ (95.1%).

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