Press Contact: Abode Team. If you own a listed property and have any doubts or questions around your current insurance – especially buildings sum insured – contact the specialist team
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While an important issue for household insurance is ensuring that rebuild costs and value (also known as “building sum insured)” are accurate within the cover and policy wording, this is amplified when arranging insurance for a listed property. And recent statistics and analytics explain why this issue has ongoing consequences.
The monthly report from the Department of Business & Trade on building materials may lead with the headline news that there has been a price decrease of 2.3 per cent in the “all works” category in comparison to the previous year¹, but the numbers that follow this are less heartening – especially when applied to what materials and building costs may be required for a listed building reconstruction. Material prices on things such as cement are increasing while production levels, availability, and delivery are all down on the same month in 2022. And all of this may play a role in determining the correct building sum insured.
Guesswork and wild approximations are one of the biggest culprits behind rebuild underinsurance (leading to very poor claims pay-outs should the worst happen), with the attitude of “It will never happen to me” running a close second.
Rebuilding “from scratch” is probably not in your plans if you’re living in a listed property – after all, you’ve chosen to be in this home because of its charm, historical elements, and probably some original features.
But if you’re undertaking extensive approved renovations on a listed property, then the responsibility is on you to ensure specialised (and often unique) materials and building methods are fully covered in your policy before work commences, which is why the findings in the report are so relevant.
And if you’re in the unenviable position of having to rebuild from the ground up following some sort of irreparable damage (flood, fire, structural collapse), then it’s vital that your rebuilding insurance is sufficient ahead of time, and not after the fact.
The more bespoke your listed property is, the closer the attention you need to pay to materials being used, and the artisan tradespeople you’ll be working with to get the job done.
This is why getting the “building sum insured” wrong cannot be an option. On top of materials and tradespeople, there are the fees for an architect and any number of builders, in order to restore as much of the original character as possible. Getting this right will allow for fluctuating material price increases and take into account delays or issues in the supply chain.
Abode Insurance has more than 20 years’ experience in the listed property arena. From a thatched cottage in the countryside to converted factories in regenerated urban areas, through to castle-like mansions on the coast, Abode does more than protect – they advise on being fully prepared and covered for any eventuality. This includes any changes to the building materials market.
And key to that is ensuring all clients understand the difference between your property’s current worth and the correct sum to have it insured for.
On the critical topic of rebuild costs, Steve Hook Divisional Director at Abode said:
“This has to be the single biggest issue for household insurance today. The cost you paid for your home (this year or ten years ago) isn’t the same as the sum you insure it for.
Guess at the cost to put it back together and I’ve absolutely no doubt you’ll get it badly wrong.
For listed properties, this situation is magnified further, as materials and specialist tradespeople tend to be more expensive.
My advice is to speak to a specialist broker and don’t gamble with your home insurance – or the listed building it’s designed to protect.”
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