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Insuring your non standard property

Non standard property is a term used by insurers and surveyors to describe the way in which your home – or buy to let property – is constructed.

A helpful rule of thumb may be to consider the distinction between standard and non standard construction in the following basic way:

  • standard construction involves the building of brick or stone walls that are capped by a roof of pantiles or slate;
  • non standard construction involves the use of any other types of building material.

This simple distinction provides no hard and fast rule on what your insurer might regard as a non standard property, but this is something that is made perfectly clear in the surveyor’s report you are likely to commission before buying the property.

For older properties and those which you think might be classed as non standard, for instance, the Local Surveyor recommends a Building Survey, which offers the more comprehensive reporting of the three types of survey classified by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Why does it matter?

Insurers need to know whether the building you want to protect is a standard or non standard construction because this is likely to give a good indication of any additional costs involved in making repairs or reinstating the property in the event of a claim. It may also give a clue as to whether the property is likely to be more vulnerable to loss or damage than a standard property.

If your home has a thatched roof, for instance, the risk of fire is likely to be considerably higher than if the roof were a standard construction. If the building is built of stone or has particularly sophisticated architectural features, the cost of finding the appropriate materials for making repairs may also be more expensive than usual.

In terms of insurance, many non standard properties may be declined by some insurers not prepared to take on the special risks which such buildings may represent.

Specialist providers

There are specialist insurance providers, however – such as us here at GSI Insurance – who make it their particular business to arrange insurance cover for non standard properties. In doing so, our experience and expertise also comes into play in helping to find non standard property insurance which is competitively priced – and does not always attract the substantial additional premium which some other insurance providers may apply.

Examples of non standard properties

To help you decide whether you might have a non standard property to insure, the following are examples of those most commonly described as such:

  • listed buildings or those beyond a certain age, a century or older let’s say;
  • thatched cottages;
  • eco-homes;
  • prefabricated homes – whether the “prefabs” that sprang up immediately following the Second World War or more recent varieties;
  • timber or steel framed buildings;
  • buildings with shingles or flat roofs.

Other types of building which are not included in this list may nevertheless be considered by an insurer to be of non standard construction. If you encounter any queries or difficulties from your insurer concerning the standard of construction of your property you might want to consult an insurance provider specialising in non standard property insurance.

Further reading available at our Guide to insurance for non-standard construction properties.

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