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Listed buildings insurance

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Listed buildings aren’t like most other properties. Not only will you need permission to make certain changes, you’ll also need suitable insurance that covers the unique nature of your home. To help you protect your home now and for future generations, we look at what to consider when it comes to arranging listed buildings insurance.

What is a listed building?

Listed buildings have special architectural or historic value. Because of this, they’re protected to preserve their value for future generations. It’s estimated there are around 500,000 listed buildings in England.

Currently, there are three categories of listed building in England and Wales:

  • Grade I – these are buildings of exceptional architectural or historic value. Only 2.5% of all listed buildings are grade I in England, and fewer than 2% in Wales.
  • Grade II (star) – these buildings are considered to be slightly more than just special interest. Around, 6% of listed buildings are grade II (star) in England, and 7% in Wales.
  • Grade II – these are buildings that are considered to be of special interest. The majority of all listed buildings in England are classed as grade II (around 92%). In Wales, about 91% of listed buildings are grade II.

In Scotland, listed categories are:

  • Category A – buildings of special architectural or historic interest that are outstanding examples of their time, style or construction.
  • Category B – buildings of special architectural or historic value offering good examples of a period, style or construction.
  • Category C – buildings of special architectural or historic value that are representative of their time, style or construction.

In Northern Ireland, listed categories are:

  • Grade A – buildings of national importance that are reflective of their style or period, with few alterations.
  • Grade B+ - buildings of national importance but with slightly more alterations or additions that mean they cannot be listed as grade A.
  • Grade B1 and B2 – buildings that are of special local importance and offer good examples of their period or style.

How do I maintain a listed building?

Generally, if you want to make changes to a listed building, you’ll need to apply for permission. If you carry out work that hasn’t been approved (or deviate from approved plans significantly) your local council can ask you to reverse the changes. You can also be prosecuted.

Bear in mind that you may need permission to alter outbuildings as well.

Before you start any work, you should contact your local planning authority to find out about what you can and can’t do.

Who needs listed buildings insurance?

In insurance terms, a listed building is considered a ‘non-standard’ home. Non-standard properties also include buildings made from unconventional materials (by modern standards), for example, timber, thatch or cob.

If you live in a listed building, or any non-standard home, you’ll need specialist insurance that reflects the higher cost of materials and the specific skills needed to repair it.

If you don’t have appropriate cover for the type of home you live in, your policy won’t give you the protection you need.

What does listed building insurance cover?

Listed building (or non-standard) home insurance covers the same sort of risks as standard home cover, and policies should cover you for:

  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Storm damage
  • Subsidence
  • Burst pipes
  • Vandalism and theft

On top of these essential covers, you’ll usually be able to add on extra features, for example:

  • Accidental damage for unintentional incidents, for instance, if you accidentally broke a window.
  • Home emergency insurance which covers unexpected events like boiler breakdown.
  • Personal possessions cover which insures belongings you take outside of the house, such as a wedding or engagement ring, phone, glasses.
  • Legal expenses which covers the cost of professional legal advice and court fees.

What isn’t covered by listed building insurance?

Exclusions will vary by insurer but typically you won’t be covered for:

  • Wear and tear.
  • Damage caused by pest infestations; this usually includes pet damage.
  • Theft or damage caused by negligence.

How do I know if a building is listed?

If you’re buying a property, you should be told whether the building is listed or not. Otherwise, you can check the following registers depending on where you live:

How much does listed building insurance cost?

Listed buildings are inherently unique so premiums are calculated on a case by case basis. As a general rule, the older or more exceptional the building, the more home insurance is likely to cost. This is simply down to the need for specialist materials and the skilled workmanship needed to carry out repairs.

Is listed building insurance more expensive?

Listed buildings insurance can be more expensive when compared to standard home cover. However, insurers consider a wide range of factors and not just the construction of your home. For instance, where you live, its value and what security you have, also affects what you pay. Learn more about standard home insurance costs here—a listed building would likely cost more to insure.

Also, you may find that your choice of provider is more limited compared to if you had a non-listed home.

Is grade II listed building insurance expensive?

It can be more expensive compared to a standard brick-built home, but that’s not always the case.

Your insurer will assess your property based on the grade or listing category and calculate costs accordingly.

Who insures listed buildings?

A number of mainstream home insurance providers will cover non-standard or listed buildings. Most insurers will establish very early on whether your home is special in some way (for example, its materials) and be clear whether or not they can offer you insurance. With that in mind, it’s worth comparing quotes from mainstream insurers such as Direct Line and Admiral, as well as specialist providers.

Does home contents in a listed building need special insurance?

If you have any particularly valuable contents, it’s worth considering specialist insurance for those items. For instance, if you have expensive or rare antiques, paintings, jewellery or sculptures. Otherwise, standard home contents cover should give you the protection you need.

To get an accurate idea of the value of your home contents, it’s a good idea to go through each room, noting down what you have and the cost to replace it. Don’t forget items that are easily forgotten because they’re taken for granted – such as rugs, pictures, and plants.

For more advice about how to calculate the value of your belongings and how to find great value cover, head to our comprehensive guide to contents insurance.

How much does listed building indemnity insurance cost?

Building indemnity insurance is a type of cover that protects home buyers from problems that might otherwise be expensive to fix. It’s usually associated with planning permission issues and identified when you start the process of buying a property.

For example, if you were to buy a property with an extension but the current sellers cannot find building regulation approval, you could buy an indemnity policy. This would cover any costs involved if anyone (for instance, neighbours) challenged you about the extension.

As potential problems are so varied, it’s tricky to work out the average cost of indemnity insurance. Instead, insurers will base the cost of a policy on the nature of the work and when it was carried out.

Insuring your listed home for peace of mind

Buildings insurance is there to cover costs if your home is damaged or destroyed, so it’s vital that the policy you choose, reflects the nature of your home. If it doesn’t or you don’t have suitable insurance, it’ll be down to you to cover repair costs.

But while home insurance is a valuable safety net, you shouldn’t have to pay more than you need. To compare quotes and find great value for money, you can start a quote right here, or discover more about getting the best cover for your needs in our home insurance hub.