Listings are used to protect buildings of special historic or architectural significance, and if you own one of these you'll be responsible for maintaining its heritage.

This creates a number of risks which mainstream insurance policies aren't set up to cover.

Is your building listed?

As a rule, the older your house is, the more likely it is to be listed. The seller or estate agent should be able to tell you whether the building is listed or not.

However, if they cannot then you can search for properties on the English Heritage or Historic Scotland websites or check with the local authority.

There are three levels of listing:

Grade 2 listed buildings

Grade 2 listing is the most common and, according to English Heritage, incorporates over 92% of listed buildings in England.

This category includes any buildings which are of special importance and require extra effort to preserve. Necessarily they require Grade 2 listed home insurance.

Grade 2* listed buildings

Grade 2* goes a step above the basic Grade 2 to include those which are considered just a little bit extra special.

Grade 1 listed buildings

Grade I is the highest and most prestigious listing. Only around 2.5% of homes fall into this category and they tend to be of unique importance and internationally famous.

If you're looking for home insurance for listed buildings in Scotland or Northern Ireland, then the system is based around Grades A and B.

Finding the best listed house insurance

As the owner of a listed property you are subject to certain special rules. You may not extend or alter the house without permission from the local authority. If the house is damaged in some way then you may, within reason, have to restore the home to its original condition.

This means good house insurance for listed houses must take into account certain special features.

If there have been any unauthorised changes, you'll have to foot the bill to undo them, even if they were carried out by a previous owner. A good policy should therefore cover you for any transgressions from those who have lived in the property before.

Repairing any damage in a way which restores the original integrity of the building can also be an expensive and drawn out process. You'll need to source specialist materials and find tradesmen with a particular set of skills.

You should make sure the buildings section of the policy will cover this and provide something of a margin so if costs over run you will not be left exposed.

Equally, because the restoration process may take a long time, you may need a significant amount of cover for alternative accommodation.

Finding the best price

Although listed property insurance tends to be more expensive, there are ways to reduce the cost. As with any insurance product, it helps to shop around as much as possible and you may save money by combining buildings and home contents insurance listed buildings cover with the same provider.

A specialist broker may help with your research while you can always conduct extensive research online, to compare home insurance for listed properties.

You may also reduce cost of house insurance for listed properties by taking certain measures to reduce the risk. These may include high sensitivity smoke detectors placed throughout the home, a high grade intruder alarm system with a deadlock and regular inspections from a qualified electrician.

As well as reducing the likelihood of making a claim, many insurers will offer a discount on home insurance listed property cover if you take these precautions.