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Listed building insurance

If you own a listed building, you’ll know they can be expensive to repair. Thatched rooves, wattle and daub walls and other aspects of these historic homes often require specialist skills and materials to fix them. You might even be required by law to repair any damage done to the building.

While you’ll still be able to find home insurance, you might pay more than someone living in a standard home. The good news is we can help you compare quotes to find you the right policy at the right price.

Read on for tips on getting the best deal, as well as more about insuring a listed building.

Or, if you’re ready, compare quotes now to see what your options are in minutes.

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What is a listed building?

A listed building is one that's classed as being of special national, historical, cultural or architectural significance and importance. Generally, the older a building is, the more likely it is to be listed. For example, all buildings built before 1700 are listed. But it’s rare to find a listed property built in the last 30 years.

It's estimated that there are around 500,000 listed buildings on the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) alone.

Historic England and Cadw (Wales) categorise them into 3 types:

  • Grade I - buildings of exceptional national interest
  • Grade II - buildings of particular importance and more than special interest
  • Grade II - buildings of special interest

If you want to make any changes to your property, you’ll likely need planning permission from your local authority. If you own a Grade II or I building, you might not be allowed by law to make any changes at all.

Just like with standard home insurance, there’s no legal obligation to insure a listed building. But it’s recommended that you have a policy to make sure the building is properly protected. Most mortgage lenders will insist on having an insurance policy in place as part of their lending terms.

listed building quote process options

What does listed building insurance cover?

It works much like a standard buildings insurance policy as it covers the structure of your property against damage from:

  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Storms
  • Vandalism

It covers the cost of repairing and rebuilding the property. This might include sourcing original materials and expert labourers who specialise in traditional construction methods unique to older buildings. Some policies also offer you alternative accommodation while the building is being restored.

Historic England estimates that there were over 1000 fire-related incidents to listed buildings, World Heritage sites and conservation areas in 2019 alone. According to our data, the average claim for damage caused by fire to a Grade II listed building is £120,0001.

It’s important to note that a buildings insurance policy only covers the physical building and fixtures, not the contents of the property. If you want to protect your possessions from fire, theft and damage, you might also want to consider a contents insurance policy.

1Confused.com data - June 2023

What doesn't it cover?

Due to the age of the average listed property, not every eventuality can be covered for.

Some policies exclude:

  • General wear and tear
  • Damage caused when the home in unoccupied
  • Covering the cost of regular maintenance work
  • Damage caused by negligence

Levels of cover vary between insurers but you can check policy documents to see what is and isn't included.

How much does it cost?

According to our data, the average building insurance policy for a Grade I property is £2482 while cover for a Grade II building is £2982.

Due to the unique nature of these types of buildings, each one is its own little piece of history and you could see a different figure when comparing your own quotes.

How much you pay for your policy depends on several factors including:

  • How old the building is
  • What grade listing it has
  • Whether it has any non-standard construction - a thatched roof for example
  • How robust your home security is

There are ways you can keep your costs down:

  • Explore different policy options such as combining your contents and building insurance policies. This could work out cheaper than buying 2 separate policies. According to our data2, an annual buildings insurance policy costs £129 whereas a monthly policy cost £133, on average.
  • Pay annually instead of monthly. This is because when you pay monthly, you'll often be charged additional interest and admin fees on top of your monthly premium.
  • Don’t over insure. Work out exactly what you need to be covered for and for how much. You could be paying for more cover than you actually need.
  • Compare quotes instead of accepting your renewal price. It doesn't take long to compare with us and you might be surprised with how much you could save.
  • Build your no-claims bonus (NCB) over several years without claiming, which could see you get rewarded with a discount on your policy.
  • Install smoke alarms and other safety measures. These can be a simple way to reduce risk, and in turn, reduce what you pay.

2Confused.com data - June 2023

What add-ons are available?

You can include add-ons to your listed building policy to provide cover for:

  • Accidental damage
  • Home emergency cover
  • Legal expenses
  • Subsidence
  • Unoccupied property

Accidental damage covers you for damage that happens accidentally – for example, if you spill wine on your carpet or soft furnishings.

Home emergency protects you from emergencies that compromise your home or your health. For example, a burst pipe or a broken-down boiler.

Legal expenses help cover your legal costs if someone injures themselves on your property and takes legal action against you.

Subsidence cover can cover the cost of repairs if part of the building starts to slip or crack. This might be important for older buildings that rest on not-so-solid foundations. Learn more about subsidence insurance.

Unoccupied property cover could be useful if you're away from your property for more than 30 consecutive days. Most policies only allow you to be away from your property for up to 30 days. The added cover extends this. Learn more about unoccupied home insurance.

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 III.

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.

Scotland grades buildings of special historical interest into 3 categories:

  • 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 4 categories by the NI Department of Communities:

  • 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.

Each database allows you to check if your property is listed and what grade it is.

What do I need to get a listed building insurance quote?

Have the following ready to help speed up the process:

Details of the property:

  • The year it was built, as older properties could be more at risk of subsidence and other damage.
  • The year you bought the property. If you’re renting and responsible for the building insurance, this would be the year you moved in.
  • What security measures you have in place, including any burglar alarms and the type of door locks you have.

Once you've entered all your property details we'll ask you whether or not you agree with the assumption that the property is 'not a listed building'. If it's a listed building, you should select that you 'disagree' with this statement. We'll then ask you whether it's a Grade 1, Grade 2 or has a preservation order.

If you're also looking for contents insurance, you'll need:

  • The total value of your belongings - if you’re unsure you can use our contents calculator to help.
  • Details of any specific high-value items, including laptops and bicycles worth over £150, plus single items valued over £1,000, for example jewellery.
  • The rebuild cost of your home, which might not be the same as the market value. It’s the amount it would cost to rebuild your home from scratch. For listed buildings, you might need a chartered surveyor due to the unique nature of the building.

How do I maintain my listed home?

Most listed building insurance policies insist that you maintain the property to a good standard. Regular maintenance not only reduces the risk of making an insurance claim, it also preserves the original glory and beauty of your home.

Even small issues can quickly become an expensive bit of work due to these properties needing specialist and traditional construction methods. Keep on top of your maintenance by regularly:

  • Inspecting the roof for loose tiles and damage throughout the year, and in particularly after bad weather.
  • Checking the walls for cracks - a possible sign of subsidence.
  • Looking for signs of damp. This could involve checking the roof for cracks and checking the gutters and drains for blockages and leaks.
  • Pruning large trees and quickly removing the first signs of invasive plants like Japanese knotweed.
  • Checking for signs of building decay such as crumbly brickwork, flaky plaster and rotting timber - all possible signs of water damage.

If your home is in need of urgent repair, you might be able to request financial assistance from your local historical building department.

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What our home insurance expert says

"Restoring your listed property if it's damaged can be expensive. To bring your home back to its former glory, you may be bound by law to use traditional materials and specialist construction methods, which could be a big financial burden.

Getting the correct cover for your historic building from a specialist insurer offers peace of mind that whatever happens, your property is covered."

Matthew Harwood, Home & lifestyle insurance expert at Confused.com
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Need more help?

If I live in a conservation area, do I need listed building insurance?

It's likely. 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's worth considering a listed building insurance policy.

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