A home is typically built using bricks or stone for its walls and tiles or slates for its pitched roof. These are probably the most basic factors by which it is possible to identify the majority of homes of standard construction. Specialist insurance is usually required if the construction falls outside of this.
Non standard construction, therefore, is a way of referring to any other way in which the home is built and might include, for example:
- those with a largely flat, rather than pitched, roof;
- thatched roof properties;
- timber or steel framed construction;
- buildings with walls made from woods, concrete or other materials;
- cob or wattle and daub construction; and
Insurers like nothing better than the expected. When it comes to home insurance, this means a building of standard construction, where the assessment of the cost of repairs – or rebuilding in the event of a major incident – may be readily calculated with reference to any number of similarly built properties.
Non standard construction, on the other hand, gives many insurers a headache. Such a problem, in fact, that they impose limiting conditions, charge considerably more for the insurance premiums, or decline any proposal for cover altogether.
That is where specialist insurance for non-standard homes comes in. Here at GSI Insurance, we draw on our expertise and experience to identify the specialist cover you are likely to need if your home is of non standard construction.
The basic principles of home insurance continue to apply. In other words, your insurance needs to be designed to cover the worst case scenario in which your home is completely destroyed in a major incident.
Just like its regular cousin, therefore, non standard home insurance needs to anticipate the possible cost of clearing the site after any such disaster, instructing architects and other professionals to design its replacement and to rebuild your home from scratch.
For homes built using standard construction techniques and materials, that rebuilding cost may be lower than the sale price or current market value of your home, suggests the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
In the case of a non standard construction, however, the very reverse may be true. The rebuilding cost – and therefore the total building sum insured – may need to reflect:
- the increased cost of many of the non standard materials used in the construction of your home;
- the increased professional fees you are likely to pay architects, engineers and surveyors for their services in reconstructing a building that is substantially different from normal;
- the longer time spent repairing or reconstructing a listed building – where special permissions are likely to be necessary and delays incurred in finding the tradesmen and other experts competent to do the specialist work; and
- the overall complexity normally associated with rebuilding a home of non standard construction.
Because it remains important to ensure that the total sum insured is sufficient to cover the costs of reconstruction, therefore, it is generally necessary to call on the services of a chartered surveyor with particular expertise in the valuation of buildings of non standard construction.