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Tue, 13/11/2018
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Home insurance is an important step towards protecting your property. Typically used as a term to describe a combination of both building and contents insurance, home insurance covers both your personal belongings in the unfortunate event they are stolen and your property’s structure if it is damaged.

For many homeowners across the UK, home insurance will cover a house which fits the typical definition of being made out of brick with a tiled roof. There are however many homes which may not match this description and therefore typical home insurance would not be suitable enough coverage should anything go wrong within your home. Here we will look at specialist home insurance and how it can apply in these scenarios.

What is specialist home insurance?

Specialist home insurance is tailored coverage for homes which are categorised as ‘non-standard’. Meeting the criteria is achieved through the type of building and the environment in which it is situated. In terms of the building type, a house is considered non-standard if it is constructed with a material other than brick and a tiled roof, for example homes with thatched roofs.

In addition to the structure itself, a building can also be considered non-standard if it is built in an environment which has a flooding risk or where subsidence is an issue. Subsidence is the gradual caving in or sinking of an area of land, which can be caused by the shrinkage of clay soil in dry weather, or by the roots of trees sucking the moisture from the soil.

In both cases, the non-standard house is either at a greater risk of being damaged or would cost a lot more to repair due to the more expensive materials which would be required. For these reasons, standard home insurance does not cover these types of homes and any claim made may therefore be rejected. In this case, specialists home insurance is required. This type of insurance is specifically tailored to cover homes who meet this criterion and provides the proper coverage.

What types of homes require specialist home insurance?

Although it may not be an exhaustive list, there is a variety of home types which match the definition of being non-standard. Here we will look at some examples of such homes, which would require specialist home insurance:

  • Subsidence risk: If your property is built in an area which is prone to subsidence, you will need specialist insurance with specific terms and conditions to cover such a risk.
  • Flood risk: Whether you live next to a river, close to a lake or any other environment which is prone to flooding, you will need specialist cover to be able to cover any potential damage.
  • Listed buildings: A listed building is one which has been placed on a ‘historic list’ which means it is protected by law. The older the building, the more likely it is to be listed. This means it is likely to cost a lot more to repair than a standard home.
  • Thatched roofs: A home with a thatched roof is one example of a home which is built with unconventional or older methods. As it would cost a lot more to fix a damaged thatched roof, specialist home insurance is required to protect it.
  • Unoccupied buildings: An unoccupied building is typically defined as being uninhabited for more than 30 days. Standard home insurance rarely covers an unoccupied home, so a specialist policy will be required.
  • Self-built home: If you decide to build your own home, in order to cover the development, you will need specialist self-build insurance. This coverage will protect both the building, any tools and any potential individuals employed to help construct your new home.

Are there consequences if I don’t have the right kind of cover?

For those homeowners who are not aware that their home meets the definition of being non-standard and take out typical home insurance regardless, they may not be covered should they make a claim. If for example your home is affected by flooding water, or your thatched roof is damaged, and you make a claim to your insurer, the terms and conditions of your standard home insurance may result in your insurer having grounds to refuse your claim. You will not be granted compensation to replace your beloved possessions or to repair the hole in your roof.

Due to the fact a home which is defined as being non-standard is at a higher risk of being damaged or will cost more to repair, premiums for specialist home insurance tend to be slightly higher than their standard counterparts. It is more important however, to ensure your home is fully covered in the case of an accident if you home is built in a certain way or in a certain area. Shopping around for the best price for your premium is a must to make sure you are not settling for the first price you are quoted.