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Non-standard home insurance

Thatched roof homes, listed buildings, prefabs and timber frame houses are all classed as non-standard homes. 

As they tend to have features you wouldn’t see on a standard home, like thatched roofs, they can be harder to repair. And as they’re harder - and more expensive - to repair, they’re more of a risk to insure. 

This can make finding cover tricky, but many insurers will still cover your non-standard home on a regular home insurance policy. And though it may cost you a bit more than insurance for a standard home, it works in much the same way. 

Get a home insurance quote now to compare prices and find a great deal, or read on for everything you need to know about insuring a non-standard home.
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What is non-standard home insurance?

Non-standard home insurance covers properties that were built using unusual materials or old-fashioned construction methods. Any home that's not built from brick or stone with a slate or tile roof will likely fall into this category. Some insurers will cover these types of homes, but many won't, so you'll need a specialist policy.

What types of properties are considered 'non-standard'?

There are several types of properties that might be considered non-standard, including:

Listed buildings

Listed buildings are those of historical significance. They often require more maintenance than standard homes, and are generally built from uncommon or outdated materials. Typically, a combined buildings and contents home insurance policy for a Grade 1 listed building costs £551, compared to £219 for a non-listed building1.

Timber frame buildings

These timber made buildings require non-standard home insurance as they're generally more risky to insure, especially those that are older. They cost £3161 to insure, on average.

Thatched roof homes

Thatched houses are at greater risk of fire, and so are more difficult to insure. This means combined home insurance can be quite expensive, with policies for thatched roof homes costing £15331 on average.

Prefab houses

Prefabricated houses, include modular homes, mobile homes and manufactured homes built from panels. Prefab houses cost £2191 to insure, on average for a combined policy.

Steel-framed homes

These buildings can be more expensive to repair due to the materials used in construction.

1Based on Confused.com data, January - March 2024.

What type of insurance can I get for my non-standard home?

There are 3 types of home insurance: buildings insurance, contents insurance, and combined buildings and contents insurance.

Buildings insurance

Buildings insurance protects the actual structure of your home, as well as any permanent fixtures like kitchen and bathroom fittings.

Contents insurance

Contents insurance covers all of your personal possessions inside the house. This includes anything you would take with you if you moved house.

Combined home insurance

Combined home insurance policies cover both contents and buildings insurance. This can sometimes be cheaper than 2 separate policies.

Is non-standard home insurance more expensive than standard home insurance?

Yes, non-standard home insurance tends to be more expensive. Non-standard homes tend to be a higher risk for fire, rot and pest damage. The risk of flooding or subsidence can also be high.

Non-standard homes often require more maintenance and the use of uncommon materials or techniques by specialist builders. This can make repairs or rebuilding more time-consuming or expensive.

It's also worth noting that fewer insurers offer specialist home insurance compared to standard cover.

How can I save on my home insurance?

Pay annually instead of monthly

Insurers add interest when you pay monthly, so paying annually usually works out cheaper. For a combined buildings and contents insurance policy, paying monthly could cost £2252. This is almost 10% more expensive than paying annually.

Increase your voluntary excess

Typically, the more you're able to pay towards any claims, the less your insurance costs. Just make sure you set it at an amount you can afford. Setting your excess at this level could save you up to 10%2 on your combined home insurance policy compared to choosing no excess.

Shop around and compare quotes

Non-standard home insurance can be expensive, so finding an affordable policy that suits your needs is important. Comparing quotes is the best way to make sure you're getting a good deal.

Build your no-claims discount

Each year you're insured without making a claim, you get a year added to your no-claims bonus (NCB), as long as you don't cancel your policy before the full year. Insurers offer discounts for your NCB. The bigger your NCB, the bigger the discount could be.

2Based on Confused.com data, January - March 2024

What do I need to get a quote?

When you get a quote for non-standard home insurance, we’ll need more details from you than would be the case for a standard home.

We'll need to know:

  • The materials your home is made of, including the exterior walls and roof
  • If it has a flat roof
  • When it was built
  • Rebuild cost
  • If it’s a listed building, and what type of listed building it is (grade 1, grade 2 or preservation order)
  • Any nearby large trees or water sources
  • Any history of flooding or subsidence

How do I calculate the rebuild cost of my non-standard home?

There are free calculators available that can make it easier to estimate the rebuild cost of a non-standard home. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) is one of these.

It can cost more to rebuild a non-standard house due to:

  • Materials being more difficult to source
  • Need for specialist builders who cost more than standard tradesmen
  • A longer, more labour-intensive rebuild process

What our home insurance expert says

"When buying non-standard home insurance, you should have a few documents ready. The deeds to your house will tell you whether it's made from any non-standard materials or has features like a brick facade. Your home survey report should also contain information that can help when getting your quote. Any safety certificates will also help, such as:

  • A prefabricated reinforced concrete (PRC) certificate
  • Proof of any flame-retardant spray applied to your thatched roof"
Matthew Harwood, Home & lifestyle insurance expert at Confused.com
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