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Listed buildings insurance


Across the UK exists a wealth of homes with cultural or historic significance. Classed as listed buildings, these homes require a specific type of home insurance to ensure their unique features are maintained.

Whether you live in a listed building or are looking to purchase one, it's important to ensure you protect it with the right type of home insurance.

How can I tell if my home is a listed building?

The older a building is, the more likely it is to be listed. Generally speaking, buildings constructed before 1700 and up to 1850 and that have remained similar to their original condition, are likely to be listed.

A listed building is considered to be of national importance and is protected because of the architectural or historical interest it holds.

Protected under the Planning Act 1990, any alterations made to a listed building must ensure its historical and cultural significance is kept intact.

Listed buildings are categorised as either of the following: -

Grade I

Buildings of exceptional interested and account for just 2.5% of all listed buildings in England.

Grade II*

Are particularly important buildings of more than special interest. Approximately 5.5% of listed buildings are Grade II*.

Grade II

Are of special interest warranting every effort to preserve them. 92% of all listed buildings are in this grade.

It’s important to note that the above grading scheme applies only to England and Wales.

In Scotland, listed homes are classed as either Category A, B, or C.

Listed homes in Northern Ireland are graded A, B, B1 or B2.

Buildings classed as one of the above grades are added to a local register of listed buildings.

Check whether your property is listed through the following channels: -

England: Historic England holds the online register for listed buildings in England.

Scotland: Historic Environment Scotland has the register for listed buildings in Scotland.

Wales: search for listed buildings in Wales with Cof Cymru.

Northern Ireland: The Department of Communities controls the listed buildings database for Northern Ireland.

If you’re unable to locate your property using one of the above databases, you can contact your local authority who should be able to help.

If your home isn’t listed but is in a conservation area, there may still be some restrictions as to what you can and cannot do to the property.

What does listed buildings insurance cover?

Listed buildings insurance is designed to cover the higher rebuild and repair costs associated with listed homes, as well as any specialist expertise that may be required when carrying out these types of maintenance.

As a general rule of thumb, listed home insurance will provide cover for the following: -

  • Fire damage (home fires, smoke, explosions).
  • Flood damage
  • Storm damage
  • Theft and attempted theft
  • Malicious damage (e.g., vandalism).
  • Escape pf water (e.g., from a leaking or burst pipe or appliance)
  • Subsidence, leave, or landslip
  • Fallen trees
  • Impact by aircraft, or other aerial devices.

Will home insurance cost more with a listed building?

As a general rule, the premiums you pay for home insurance with a listed building will be more than what you pay for standard home insurance.

This is because if the property were to become damaged and need to be repaired or rebuilt, the materials and expertise needed to do so will typically be more expensive.

And, because rebuild costs will be higher, some standard insurers will either not cover listed buildings at all or the amount of cover they will offer may be insufficient. In these instances, you may need to seek out specialist cover.

Do listed buildings need specialist cover?

In short, most likely. If you own a listed building, you will need a home insurance policy that is able to take into account the building’s listing status (Grade I, Grade II*, or Grade II), its historical, architectural, and cultural features, as well as its fixtures and fittings.

If your listed building has to be repaired or rebuilt, it will likely require certain materials and expertise to ensure the building retains its status and value.

Depending on your location, permission from a government statutory adviser (i.e., Historic England, Historic Environment Scotland, Cof Cymru or the Department of Communities), as well as any other necessary local authority will be required before any maintenance or rebuilding takes place. Because of this, insurance for listed buildings will usually have higher premiums compared to non-listed buildings.

Some insurers may offer to keep premiums down by including a higher excess. However, this may not always be the best option. For example, if you live near water or own a property that is particularly susceptible to a specific type of damage.

For this reason, before deciding on a home insurance policy, it is important to research your listed building’s weaknesses.

Can I carry out renovations to a listed building?

If you own a listed building, there are certain specific and strict regulations in place to ensure that the unique character your property possesses is not affected.

Even if you only intend to carry out minor renovations, you will likely need permission before doing so.

Undertaking unauthorised renovations on a listed building is a criminal offence. You could face prosecution and have to reverse any work carried out without prior consent.

Your local planning authority will be able to tell you whether formal consent is needed for any work you want to carry out on a listed building.

Do I still need listed buildings insurance if my property is located within a conservation area?

Even if your home is not a listed building, you property may still be included within a local conservation area. These areas protect the special architectural and historical interest of a particular place.

 still need to seek permission to make certain changes to the property if you live in a conservation area. This could potentially make repairs and renovations more expensive, so you should inform your insurer.

Local authorities designate and govern conservation areas. For this reason, you may need consent and planning permission for any repairs or renovations you wish to make.

Repairs and renovations on listed buildings can be very expensive. So, it's a good idea to speak to your insurer to find out whether listed buildings insurance will adequately cover these costs.

Why do listed buildings need specialist cover?

Listed homes exist because they are of specific historical or cultural importance. Any insurance you take out for a listed home must therefore be enough to protect the building and maintain its original features, in the event it becomes damaged or destroyed and needs to be rebuilt.

These costs be substantially higher than the level of cover standard home buildings insurance can provide.

I own a listed building. Do I have to maintain it?

There is no legal obligation for the owner of a listed building to keep their property in a good state of repair, even if it is in their interest to do so.

However, owning a listed home does come with certain responsibilities to maintain the building and its features.

If concerned about its conservation, local authorities can take action to secure the repair of a listed building. In some instances, they can even reclaim the property if they decide it is not being adequately looked after.

Listed property owners must preserve the building's character and ensure it is properly maintained. Proper maintenance of the building can also go towards preventing future problems that may arise.

In some cases, Historic England offers grants to listed homes requiring urgent repairs within the next two years. These grants exist to prevent loss or damage to important architectural, archaeological, or historical features.

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