Standard is what standard does. If you don’t have a standard home, therefore, standard home insurance is unlikely to offer the protection you need to safeguard the structure and fabric of your property and its contents.
If your home is of non-standard construction, you are instead likely to need a niche type of specialist home insurance – one of the products in which we specialise here at GSI Insurance.
This begs the question, of course, as to just what is non-standard construction. Where standard construction describes a house typically built with brick or stone walls and a roof of tiles or slates, non-standard construction is a term used to describe any other method or materials. Examples include:
- steel or timber-framed buildings;
- homes with thatched roofs;
- buildings incorporating shingles or flat roofs;
- listed buildings; and
- eco homes.
If your home is of non-standard construction, it is important that your insurer knows that fact. Standard home insurance is for homes of standard construction; specialist home insurance is for home of non-standard construction. If you mismatch the type of insurance to the type of home you own, you may find that your insurer fails to pay out if at some time you need to make a claim.
And having an inappropriate type of insurance may be one of the reasons cited in a report by the BBC on the 26th of January 2016, for as many as one in five home insurance claims currently being rejected by insurers.
What does your insurer need to know?
Your insurer needs to know about anything that might influence the calculation of risk – and that includes the fact that your home is of non-standard construction, so they probably won’t look to get standard home insurance for you.
Specifically, therefore, your insurer needs to know what makes the construction non-standard. Since you are likely to have arranged a survey of your property before buying it – or even after you have moved in – one of the ways of keeping your insurer in the picture is to share a copy of that surveyor’s report.
Failing that, you might try describing just what makes your home different to others. Remember that the insurance assessment of risk depends on a whole host of factors and no two homes are likely to be the same – so the more detail you are able to provide, the clearer things are likely to be for the insurer. It is definitely not a good idea simply to fail to mention non-standard techniques that may have been used in the construction of your home, in the hope that you are thereby keeping down the cost of home insurance premiums. If it subsequently emerges that you have been anything less than honest with your insurer, you may find that any claim may be rejected.
Some features may stand out as blindingly obvious. If your home has a thatched roof, for example, the risk of fire and the serious structural damage which follows is likely to raise alarm bells with insurers – who might respond not only by insisting upon specialist home insurance but also upon your taking specific fire safety measures to help reduce the risks.