What add-ons are available with a listed building insurance policy?
There are a few extras you could add to your policy, should you need them:
- Accidental damage
- Home emergency cover
- Legal expenses
- Subsidence cover
- Unoccupied property cover
Accidental damage covers you for damage that happens accidentally – for example, if you spill wine on the floor.
Home emergency protects you from sudden misfortunes that compromise your home or your health. For example, a burst pipe or a broken-down boiler.
Legal expenses could help cover your legal costs If someone injures themselves on your property and takes legal action against you.
Subsidence cover helps the cost of repairs if part of the building starts to slip. This might be important for older buildings that might rest on not-so-solid foundations.
Unoccupied property cover could come in handy if you're away for your property for more than 30 consecutive days. Most buildings insurance policies only allow you to be away from your property for up to 30 days. The added cover extends this.
What are the different rules for listed buildings in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales?
England and Wales use the same grading system for listed buildings, Grade I, Grade II* and Grade II.
You can apply to have a building added to the register of listed buildings at Historic England or Cadw.
To make any changes to a listed building in England and Wales, you need to apply for consent with your local authority.
In Scotland, listed buildings are graded in three slightly different categories. They cover buildings of special historical interest that are:
- Category A – outstanding examples of a particular period
- Category B – major examples of a particular period
- Category C – representative examples of a particular period
You can apply for listed building status at Historic Environment Scotland.
In Northern Ireland, buildings are graded in four categories:
- Grade A – buildings of the greatest importance that are representative of a particular style or period
- Grade B+ – buildings that have exceptional features that don’t quite meet the criteria for grade A
- Grade B1 – good examples of a particular period where one or more features are of exceptional interest
- Grade B2 – special buildings with features that raise them above the standard of others in the area
Grades B1 and B2 allow for some degree of imperfection or alteration.
Why do I need listed building insurance?
Owning or living in a listed building is a privilege, but also a responsibility. Its listed status usually means you need to comply with strict rules on how you can change and maintain the property.
This usually comes with added costs, especially when you factor in the specialist materials and unique skillsets required for traditional construction methods.
For example, a small thatched roof could cost thousands of pounds to replace. And, due to natural wear and tear, you might need to replace it every decade or so.
If the roof caught fire after being struck by lightning, for example, that cost could be covered by your listed building insurance policy. Without it, you might have to foot the bill yourself.
It’s worth noting that most listed building insurance policies might insist that you maintain the property to a good standard. This includes:
What our home insurance expert says
Listed buildings are unique, but finding the materials to repair them is harder than for modern homes and can be more expensive. Having listed buildings insurance can give you peace of mind that if something does happen to your listed home, you’ll be covered.
Home insurance product manager
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It’s a criminal offence to alter or extend a listed building in a way that affects its character without prior consent.
So, before you make any updates to the building, get in touch with your local authority and get consent if needed. If in doubt, speak to your local planning office.
Like standard home insurance, there’s no legal obligation to insure a listed building. But it’s recommended that you have a policy in place to make sure the building is properly protected. Most mortgage lenders will actually insist on people having an insurance policy in place as part of their terms.
If you don’t have an insurance policy in place and something went wrong, it’s your responsibility. This means it’s up to you to pay for any repairs that need doing. It’s also worth considering that claims on listed buildings tend to be more expensive due to the higher cost of materials and repairs.
Conservation areas have additional protections that go beyond the buildings themselves. A conservation area might also include unique and interesting landmarks, roads and boundaries.
If your house is in a conservation area, chances are the property itself is a listed building. If this is the case, it might be worth considering a listed building insurance policy.
Owning a listed building means that there might be restrictions on how the property is maintained. Usually, it means that any renovation or maintenance needs to be done using materials that are in keeping with the time period.
Unlike modern new builds, listed buildings are usually much older and may require a specialist type of insurance.
Due to their age, listed buildings are often more vulnerable to damage and other structural issues. This also means they pose a greater risk in terms of the cost of repairs. It’s important that you get the right level of cover in your policy, ensuring the building is covered in case of severe weather, fire or flooding.
Listed building insurance might be more expensive than a standard buildings insurance policy.
There are several factors that impact how much you pay for your home insurance. But generally, listed buildings tend to be older and more expensive to rebuild and repair.
So, any home insurance claims for listed buildings are likely to be higher than for a modern house. This added cost might be reflected in a higher premium.
Usually, the listed status applies to the entire building. Any exclusions should be noted on the list description.
Sometimes, attached structures and later additions might also have listed status. If you’re unsure, get in touch with your local planning authority who should be able to tell you which parts of the building are listed.