If you find yourself in the position of living in a Listed Building in England or Wales, then you may have come across the term ‘listed building insurance.’ This refers to the extra level of cover that you must consider if you live in a listed building. Are listed buildings more expensive to insure? Are there special protections that need to be put in place? Let’s take a closer look and learn about listed building insurance.
What is a Listed Building?
A listed property is a building in England or Wales that is of ‘particular historical or architectural importance.’ Read on to learn more about listed buildings.
Grade of listed properties
There are three grades of listed properties. Grade I listed buildings are the most exceptionally important areas of interest which include places like London’s Tower Bridge and the Palace of Westminster. Furthermore, Grade II* listed buildings are those that are important, but not so relevant as Grade I. Finally, Grade II listed buildings represent around 92% of all listed buildings. If your building is listed, the chances are it is Grade II… Unless you are lucky enough to live in a castle!
Historic England’s list
You can check if your building is a listed one and, if you intend to buy a property, you should always check before you commit to purchase. Search Historic England’s Listed Building List by following this link. All buildings that were put up before 1700 are registered.
Why Does Insuring A Listed Building Cost More?
Insuring a listed building is likely to cost you a little more. You should still be able to get this insurance from big brand providers such as Direct Line. You may need a specialist cover for your insurance that allows for the preservation of the property.
Renovations, extensions, or demolitions
If you own a listed property and want to have building work done (such as a renovation or an extension) then you will need to ensure that all the contract work is carried out within the confines of the original plans. Exterior and interior points of interest are to be preserved and maintained. Also, the regulations stipulate that the original materials should be used to complete such building work, wherever this is possible.
Payment for contractors
This means that if you want to renovate or repair a listed building you might need to pay extra for contractors capable of working with these materials. When a listed property needs parts rebuilt due to damage or accident, these costs can run high. This will usually result in higher premiums every month. On the other hand, if you do not get the insurance then you are liable to pay for the reparations by yourself.
You might also want to check out: Listed buildings: regulations and permissions for restoration
Do I Need to Get Insurance?
You do not necessarily need to get the extra insurance. However, should the worst happen to your home and you have chosen no to get properly insured, your insurance company may refuse to meet the costs. Don’t forget that listed buildings are physically protected by law. If you alter, demolish, or renovate a listed property without seeking consent then you may be prosecuted.
Liability for damages
Likewise, if you make changes and repairs to the building that do not meet the requirements set out by your Listed Building Consent approval process – then you may be liable to pay damages or have the work redone. A prosecution is also an option if you have not carried out the requirements when working on a listed building. This means that if you don’t get the insurance and can’t afford to rebuild properly, you may end up with no other option but to sell your home.
Furthermore, if you buy a listed building and work has been done on it improperly – you may have to front the costs of repair as well.
Insurance Costs to Your Listed Home
Insurance costs to your listed home may be higher if it has any of the following features:
- If the water has a thatched or speciality roof.
- If your property is on or near the water, or a cliff edge.
- If your building has a history of repetitive damage from a particular issue.
- If it has archaic features that are no longer commonly in use.
Insurance policies can also be higher if divided into two parts. Many companies will divide listed building insurance into two parts: the interior and the exterior of the building. This is to accommodate the outbuildings and any gardens or ground which may also be covered. You may be able to drive the cost of premiums by taking out a huge excess on your policy, but again, this should be carefully considered before you commit to purchase.
Is There Any Way to Make Listed Building Insurance Cheaper?
As we mentioned above, you can accept a massive excess in order to make the premium payments cheaper every month, but we recommend that you do this only if you have worked out which will be cheaper for you in the long run. You can also try using different sites to compare prices on listed building insurance. Keep in mind that if you do decide to compare prices, not all companies are listed on comparison sites.
As a final thought, you can have a split policy that deals with both the outside and inside of your home. If the outside of your home is of less historical value than the interior (or vice versa) then you may wish to consider choosing a single insurance type over a split one. This might be cheaper for you, but keep in mind that it will only cover that one area of the property, should something go wrong.
Grade of the property
Before you decide to finally commit to buying that listed building, find out what grade it is. The grade will greatly affect the price that your insurer charges. If you are in a listed building of Grade I status you will have the highest of insurance premiums. If cost really is an issue to you then it may be best to live in a newer home. If you are willing to pay that little extra in insurance to preserve national interests, then a listed building can make for the perfect forever home for you and your family.
You can learn anything else you want to know about listed building courtesy of the Listed Property Owners Club.
This article was written on behalf of Boulton & Boyce by Pieter Boyce. Pieter has an intense passion for English Architectural history and has been specialising in the conservation of original wooden windows and doors for decades. His exceptional knowledge of timber windows and doors, both listed or non-listed, is attributed to his hands-on approach to learning all aspects of the complete restoration of original features as well as having personally surveyed thousands of items throughout his long tenure as a head surveyor for one of the largest window and door restoration companies in the UK. He now runs a boutique wooden window and door consultancy and fervently champions the retention of original windows and doors. To learn more of Pieter’s services, visit his website at www.boultonboyce.co.uk.