Non-Standard Home Insurance
A non-standard home could be anything from a build your own Huf Haus to a centuries-old listed building. These are incredibly unique houses to live in and you will have most likely spent a while researching, locating and buying your dream home. Once you’re settled in the next thing you need to think about is home insurance. However, if you have what it is deemed a non-standard house in the UK, getting home insurance isn’t as straight forward as you might hope. That doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get insurance, there are plenty of specialist brokers who can meet your needs, it’s just about taking the time to research what you will need – so it’s a good idea to start with this guide.
In this guide:
- What is a non-standard home?
- Non-standard home insurance?
- I live in a non-standard home, what do I tell my insurer?
- Will I pay more for non-standard home insurance?
A non-standard house is a home built out of material that is not commonly used to build a house. A house referred to as standard in the UK is one made of brick or stone, with a roof made from tile or slate. Anything beyond this remit is ‘non-standard,’ this includes:
- Thatched properties
- Listed properties
- Pre-fabricated properties, for example a Huf Haus
- Timber or steel-framed properties
- Unique converted properties, for example a windmill
- Properties with walls made from hay and peat turf walls
- Properties with a roof made from shingle, plastic or rubber
- Cob properties
- Wattle and daub properties
This is not a fixed list and different insurers will define non-standard constructions in their own terms. It’s important to clarify what your insurer considers your home to be. For example, some insurers will consider a house that has been underpinned (when you stabilise the foundations of your house) as non-standard while others will not.
Having a non-standard home does not mean you’re unable to get home insurance you will instead have to purchase a non-standard policy. There are various specialist insurers who will be able to sell you a policy that suits your specific needs. For example, if you own a thatched roof property a specialist insurance broker can give you additional fire cover as this type of property is deemed a higher fire risk.
You will have the same basic cover as a standard policy, for example buildings and contents insurance that covers you for fire, theft, damage, floods and storms, but non-standard cover will cater for your specific needs. This may be something like alternative accommodation cover. If the nature of the damage done to your non-standard house means you cannot live there while it is being fixed alternative accommodation cover will mean your insurer will payout for you to live elsewhere. Or if you live in a high value listed property the amount insured will reflect this and will be a sum less likely to be matched by a standard insurance broker.
When making enquiries about home insurance for your non-standard property you will need to share certain knowledge with the insurer. Anything you’re unsure of, you should be able to locate in your property survey or other property documents, so have them to hand. The type of questions you should be expected to answer are:
- When was your home built?
- What is your home made from?
- Is your building listed?
- What is the flooding risk?
- Does your house have a history of subsidence?
- What are the nearby water sources and are there large trees nearby?
You may have to pay a higher premium for non-standard home insurance because it is more specific. The risks to a non-standard property are specific to that property and the way in which such damage is fixed may be more complicated and expensive. For example to fix a thatched roof you need a specialist tradesperson with particular skills and expertise, or if you live in a listed building there are a variety of rules and regulations you have to stick to when building on or changing the property, making claims more expensive. Overall if you have a non-standard house you could require anything from non-standard materials that are hard to locate or require a longer period of time to make your repairs, all of which will make for a more expensive insurance policy.