Non standard home insurance

If you have non standard property you may need specialist cover to protect your buildings and contents.

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What is non standard home insurance?

It is an insurance policy that can protect properties that are not of standard construction.

Properties that can be insured with a non standard policy include:

  • Thatched properties: These can be expensive to repair, and can suffer extensive fire damage so need specialist cover.

  • Houses with flat roofs: These are more likely to leak and suffer weather damage and can give thieves better access to your property, so not all insurers cover them.

  • Listed buildings: Most are over 100 years old and can be very expensive to repair using traditional materials and methods.

  • High net worth homes: Some insurers do not cover properties over a certain value, or with more than six bedrooms so you need a non standard policy.

  • Unusual construction properties: This includes steel or timber framed buildings, because they can be expensive to repair.

Non standard home insurance may also be able to protect homes at risk from flooding, or properties that have suffered subsidence damage.

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Why do you need specialist cover?

Non standard properties are more likely to suffer damage or theft and can be more expensive to repair than other homes.

When you look for policies, work out what cover you need to make sure your buildings and contents are fully protected.

Compare as many quotes as possible to find the best policy for your property.

How much cover do you need?

Buildings insurance providers work out how much cover you need for your property in 3 main ways:

  • Blanket cover: Some insurers set a standard claim limit for their policies, regardless of how much your house would cost to rebuild. This is usually a high amount, for example £1 million, or even unlimited so you know you should be covered for any repairs you need.

  • Bedroom rated insurance: Some buildings insurance providers will base how much cover you need on the number of bedrooms you have. For example, if you have a two bedroom house, they may give you up to £250,000 of buildings insurance cover, or £350,000 if you have a four bedroom house.

  • Rebuild cost: Some policies set the cover level at the cost of rebuilding your home from scratch if it was destroyed.

Why do you need home insurance?

Home insurance is made up of two components.

Building insurance protects the physical building — the bricks and mortar of your home — and fixtures like kitchen units.

Contents insurance covers your personal belongings when they are inside your home.

You can buy these policies separately, or as part of a combined home insurance policy.

Remember, when you take out a mortgage most lenders will insist you have a buildings insurance policy for the property you are buying.

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What type of property do you want to cover?

Your home will influence what sort of policy you can get and what sort of policy will work best for you.

While most home insurance policies will cover standard houses and residential properties, if your home is slightly different you may need different cover.

Rented accommodation, for example, will require different cover. If you rent your house, you should not need buildings insurance. As your landlord owns the property, it is usually their responsibility to find a policy and arrange any necessary repairs.

A contents insurance policy can protect all of your belongings in your home, like furniture, electronics, white goods and clothes.

If your property is furnished, your landlord should have their own contents policy in place too, in order to cover the items that belong to them.

If you are a student and you rent, or live in halls of residence, you may need specialised contents cover.

Do you need extra cover?

Most home insurance policies come with optional extras you can add to your policy. Common extras include:

  • Accidental damage: This covers any damage you might cause unintentionally, for example breaking a window or staining a carpet.

  • Home emergency cover: This lets you call for emergency assistance if you have an urgent problem like a burst pipe or electrical fault.

  • Personal possessions cover: This can protect your belongings when they are outside your home. Some policies can cover everything from jewellery to mobile phones anywhere in the UK and abroad.

  • Legal expenses cover: This can cover the legal cost of issues such as property disputes, faulty goods or services and employment claims. Most insurers will also offer a 24 hour legal advice helpline you can use for guidance.

These extras will usually come at an added cost, so think carefully about whether any of these options would be useful and add value to your policy. They could potentially save you money and hassle in the long run if you do need them.

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How to make a claim

If anything happens that you think is covered by your policy, you should:

  • Report any crime to the police. Do this before you make your claim and take a note of the incident number they give you, for example if you have been burgled.

  • Call your insurer on their claims line, which will usually be listed on your policy document. Most operate 24 hours a day.

  • Tell them about your claim, including as much accurate information as possible and details of any damage or loss.

Some insurance providers will send you a claims form to complete and return to them, including any supporting documents they ask for, before your claim can be processed.

If your home has been damaged and is in need of urgent repairs, contact your insurer before arranging any work. This way they can agree to it before you commit to paying anyone.

If it is a dire emergency and your home requires immediate repairs, your insurance provider should reimburse you the cost. Make sure you keep hold of any receipts you receive for the work so you claim all your money back.

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Last updated: 10 March, 2022

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