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Non-standard house insurance – What is it?

Not all houses are the same. That might sound very much like stating the obvious but sometimes, the differences between our properties might have an effect on the type of cover we need to protect them, and you may need non-standard house insurance.

Why property distinctions exist

Insurance providers need to understand the basic nature of your property, in order to provide cover for the risks involved.

In the case of certain types of property, such as a ground floor flat in a larger Victorian brick-built property, the general nature of the risks associated with it will be well understood. Of course, there will be some variations depending upon how large it is, its age, where it’s located and so on. Even so, generally its materials and construction methods will be understood.

For insurance providers though, this general understanding can vary if the property is of a type they’re not familiar with. Then the property becomes “non-standard” in insurance terms and the type of policy required will differ too.

Non-standard properties

It might surprise you to know that there isn’t an exact definition of a “standard property” or “non-standard” for that matter. That’s not cause for concern because we at GSI Insurance will gladly assist you in understanding the exact position with your specific property.

As a general guideline though, a standard property will typically be:

  • constructed of brick or stone;
  • with a tile or slate roof;
  • constructed in the 19th, 20th or 21st

As a result, the following types of properties may, we stress MAY, be considered as “non-standard” in certain situations;

  • properties that are several centuries old;
  • listed buildings;
  • those that have thatched roofs (whether ancient or modern);
  • eco-buildings (constructed of tyres or other re-cycled materials);
  • pre-fabricated buildings;
  • any building constructed primarily with ancient or unusual materials – examples might be wattle and daub, timber walls, experimental materials (whether new high-tech, old or reproductions);
  • buildings that have been converted from a non-residential purpose to residential. Examples in this category might be converted garages, lighthouses, oast houses, warehouses and some barns.

Do please note that this list is by no means exhaustive. We provide it only to illustrate some of the things that might make your property eligible for non-standard house insurance.

Non-standard house cover

To make sure that you’re adequately covered, the insurer will need to ensure they understand the exact construction techniques used in your property and in some cases, that may require access to a detailed survey report.

Once the construction methods and their risks are understood, it’s then possible to write a non-standard home insurance policy specifically for your unique property.

Cost issues

It’s important to recognise that this requirement is not a premium issue for the provider per se. The need for non-standard house insurance is related to being sure that the policy provider has understood exactly what it is you’re asking them to cover.

In the case of say an early 20th century red brick terraced house, the building issues are understood and covered in the typical standard policy. In the case of a 15th century timber building using a Roman wall for its foundations, the issues and risks are quite different and typically need to be quantified on a case-by-case basis.

Remember that if you make a claim and do not have appropriate cover for the type of property concerned, then your claim may be rejected.

If you think you might have a non-standard property, why not contact us for an initial discussion?

Further reading: Guide to Insurance for Non-Standard Construction Properties

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