What properties are non standard?

Properties that insurers may consider non standard include:

  • Thatched houses

  • Properties with flat roofs

  • Listed buildings

  • High net worth homes

  • Unusual construction properties, for example stone walled or timber framed buildings

Many insurance companies will not cover non standard homes, so you may need to find a specialist policy to protect your property.

This is because there may be increased risks associated with the type of property you own, so you need to make sure these risks are fully covered.

Thatched roof houses

If your home has a thatched roof, finding affordable home insurance can be difficult.

Insurers consider thatched roofs a higher risk because they cost more to repair, and can be more prone to fire and storm damage.

Your thatched roof will cost more to repair than standard roofs, because you need expert tradesman and specific materials. Your insurer may charge a higher premium to cover this extra cost in the event of a claim.

When you apply for thatched roof cover you may be asked to confirm:

  • The type of roofing material used, for example water reed, combed wheat or long straw

  • The depth of the thatch

  • How your chimneys are used

  • What fire security you have in place, for example smoke detectors and fire blankets

  • What the walls of the property are made of

This information is used to work out how at risk your roof is to damage, especially fire.

Common exclusions

Many insurers who cover thatched properties set conditions you need to meet for your cover to be valid, including:

  • Sweeping your chimney: Some insurers ask that your chimney is swept at least once a year to reduce the risk of chimney fire which could spread to your thatched roof.

  • Fitting a spark arrestor: These prevent sparks escaping the chimney onto the thatch roof and can also stop birds nesting.

  • Lining and insulating your chimney: Doing this protects your chimney against wear and tear and can prevent dangerous blow holes.

  • Providing a valid electrical inspection report: This will show that your electrics are in working order, so the risk of an electrical fire is reduced.

Check the exclusions before you apply so you can be confident any claim will pay out.

Flat roof houses

Most insurers ask you how much of your property has a flat roof, and you may be given a choice of:

  • None

  • Up to a quarter

  • A quarter to a half

  • More than half

Flat roofs are considered a higher risk by insurers because they are vulnerable to rain damage, and can offer burglars easier access to your home.

Water and snow can collect on flat roofs which can result in leaks or damage that need to be repaired.

The cost of your home insurance may go up if a high proportion of your roof is flat, and some standard policies will not cover homes if more than 50% of the roof is flat.

Listed properties

If your home is one of the 500,000 listed properties in the UK, you may need to look for a specialist home insurance policy to protect it.

Many listed properties are hundreds of years old, and may have been built with materials that are not easily available.

The rebuild cost of a listed property can be much higher than a newer home, so you will need a higher level of buildings insurance to cover it.

You may need listed home insurance even if your houses is not listed, for example if a listed wall is running through your property. If this is damaged the cost of repairs could be huge so it is worth having suitable cover in place.

You should get a specialist valuation from a surveyor so you know exactly what cover you will need. Find out more about getting the right buildings insurance here.

You can find out if your house is listed by searching on the Historic England website.

High value houses

If your home is worth millions of pounds, you will need more protection from your insurance policy than most.

Some standard home insurance policies will not offer more than 1 million of buildings insurance cover, so you may need to look for specialist high value home policy.

These policies also offer higher levels of contents cover if you have expensive items like jewellery in your property, and some can cover upwards of 200,000.

Here is how to get the right contents cover for your property.

How to find non standard home insurance

Depending on your property, you may be able to get the cover you need with a standard home insurance policy. Check the policy documents carefully to make sure your property will be fully covered.

Getting home insurance from an insurer that specialises in non standard homes may be more expensive, but it could be the only way to fully protect your home.

If you are still struggling to find the right cover you could speak to an insurance broker, who could find you a policy perfectly tailored to your home.