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Listed buildings and your home insurance

How to make sure your listed building is properly insured

An arched window in an old property

Listed buildings are historical gems that deserve to be preserved and cared for. Sadly, their age and building materials can sometimes make them hard to insure.

What is a listed building?

A building may be listed if it is a place of:

  • Architectural interest for its design, decoration or craftsmanship.
  • Special interest, and is a national example of its type.
  • Historical interest, as an example of England's social, economic, cultural or military history or have a close association with an historical figure.

There are three grades of listed buildings in England.

Grade I. These are buildings of exceptional interest, such as Buckingham Palace.

Grade II*. These are important buildings of more than special interest, such as Battersea Power Station.

Grade II. These are buildings of special interest. This is the most likely category of listing for homeowners.

What does listing mean?

Listing means that as a homeowner, you are not free to change the inside or outside of your home as you please.

You'll need to get listed building consent for any work that alters the special architectural or historical interest of your property.

How does being listed affect my home insurance?

If you live in a Grade I or Grade II* listed home, you may need to take out specialist listed building insurance.

At LV= we provide insurance for your listed property if:

  • You live in England or Wales and your home is Grade II listed
  • You live in Scotland and your home is Grade C listed
  • You live in Northern Ireland and your home is Grade B1 listed

What do I need to consider when I insure a listed building?

The reason that not all insurance companies will cover listed buildings is that they are often more complicated to rebuild and difficult to secure to required standards.

So if your home was damaged in a fire and needed rebuilding, the listing may require it to be rebuilt in the way it was originally constructed. This could mean using period materials and special building techniques, such as wattle and daub.

You may need to employ specialist craftsmen to complete the work and wait for planning approval at each stage. All of this increases the time and cost of the rebuild.

So when you insure a listed building, it's very important to take all the rebuild costs, at current rates, into account. Underinsuring your property could lead to expensive and unexpected bills.

Similarly, when you consider the contents of your property, you'll need to let your insurer know that you live in a listed property.

This is because many listed properties will have old style locks on the doors and no window locks. And it's unlikely that you'll be given planning permission to change the door locks or add window locks. As such, you're deemed to be more of a security risk.

If your home was damaged in a fire and needed rebuilding, the listing may require it to be built in the way it was originally constructed. This could mean using period materials.

What won't my listed buildings insurance cover?

Like all home insurance, you won't be covered for wear and tear. And if your home is more than a hundred years old, there's a lot of wear and tear!

You may also not be covered for damp or fungal damage and you'll need to let your insurer know if you have a thatched roof or special roofing tiles.

That's why it's so important to keep on top of the maintenance of a listed property. By their nature they tend to be older properties and will need extra care and attention. But of course, that's probably the reason you bought the property in the first place!

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