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Stephen Jones

What is non-standard risk?


From flood risks to subsidence, what exactly is non-standard risk and do you need to be covered for them?

A flooded house with sandbags in front

To put it simply, a non-standard risk is one which is not covered by the average home insurance policy.

For example, if your home has ever shown signs of subsidence, or if you’ve previously been declared bankrupt, that would go beyond the cover of a standard home insurance policy.

If you or your property is affected by a non-standard risk, you would need to obtain a policy from a non-standard home insurance provider.

Equally, if your home has been affected by an extraordinary event such as flooding in the past, this is also considered a non-standard risk and will make it difficult to get a standard home insurance policy.

If your home has been flooded before, or is in a high risk area, the government has launched the Flood Re to help people in affected areas get affordable home insurance.

What counts as a non-standard risk?

A brick wall showing signs of subsidence

To give you  a clearer idea of what might not be covered by a standard policy, here’s a list of typical circumstances which insurers would count as non-standard risk.

Properties with a history of flooding - this is particularly troublesome for areas that have been affected by extreme weather conditions in the past.

Subsidence - homes that have ever shown sign of or been monitored for subsidence, landslip or heave.

Some insurers cover subsidence under normal buildings insurance, so check this when searching for policies. For more information read our guide on how to spot signs of subsidence.

Underpinned or reinforced foundations - properties that have been previously underpinned or had their foundations reinforced will be classed as non-standard risk.

It can be particularly tough to get cover for homes that have previously been underpinned but there are specialist insurers who will cover this.

Homes used for business use - any property used for clerical use with visitors or any other type of business.

This doesn't include simply working from home from time to time. For more information read our guide on insurance for home-based workers.

If the house is left unoccupied for a long consecutive period - an empty house is a more likely target for burglars.

Make sure you check exactly what your insurer regards as 'long' if you're planning to be away for some time (it's usually over 30 days).

Bankruptcy and unspent or pending criminal convictions - if you or any of the occupants have ever been declared bankrupt, have a criminal conviction or have been refused/had terms impose on previous insurance then you will need to declare this.

Once a criminal conviction has been spent, the customer doesn't need to declare them (as per the Criminal Rehabilitation Act).

If your property lies within 400 metres of the nearest watercourse - for obvious reasons, this has an impact on an insurers' judgement on the risk to your home. See our flood alert tips to help reduce the risk.

If your property lies within 5 metres of trees taller than 10 metres - this isn't a very common issue, but if you have any concerns, discuss them with your insurer.

If the roof of the property is made of any of the following - asbestos, corrugated iron, felt on timber, fibreglass, glass, metal, plastic, shingle, stramit, thatch reed, thatch fibre, timber or woodwork construction.

A standard policy also won't cover you if the roof has been turnerised. If you’re unsure whether your roof will be covered, it’s always best to check directly with your insurer.

If the exterior walls of the property are made of the following - brick/timber frame, timber, timber frame, timber/plastic, asbestos, cob construction, corrugated iron, Essex construction, fibreglass construction, flint, glass, metal or plastic.

You also won't be covered if they're made from prefabricated building combustible materials or non-combustible materials, stramit construction, wattle and daub construction, woodwall or woodwork construction.

If you have any concerns about your property and if it falls into any of these categories, simply call your insurance company to discuss it with them.


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