The Perils of Insuring a Listed Building
GSI Insurance has more than a decade of experience specialising in Listed Buildings, and here outlines just a few of the pitfalls to consider.
The Garden of England has its fair share of unique buildings amongst the rural backdrop of the Kent countryside. As these buildings become repurposed for housing, the nuances of each home must be considered.
As a home-owner, arranging adequate insurance is an imperative aspect of protecting your valuable asset. This becomes even more vital when approaching a historic building, for numerous reasons. While these pieces of architectural history may have stood tall for many hundreds of years, they are under increasing threat from a rapidly changing environment, with damage from storms, floods, and heavy rainfall becoming more commonplace, and it is more important than ever to have comprehensive coverage in place.
While the process of arranging insurance may begin in the same spirit as with a more typical property, there are further considerations that may require a more personal touch.
A Unique Proposition
One of the key features of a Listed Building tends to be the construction itself, providing a fine example of materials, and in particular the building methods that have, aside from an exclusive list of present-day master craftsmen, been all but lost to time.
It is here where your biggest challenge may lie, to the point where you may be unable to find the construction type in a multiple-choice list online, or encounter an agent over the phone who has simply never experienced a property of that ilk.
Just as you would prefer to have an artisan carry out any repairs to the fabric of your building, it is just as prudent to work with an insurance partner who truly understands what you are presenting to them.
Contents Cover – Getting it Right
Perhaps the most challenging area for homeowners is accurately estimating the replacement value of their belongings within. This can be further compounded with Listed Buildings, particularly if the furnishings are in keeping with the period. This can make coming up with a new-for-old replacement value on antique pieces nigh on impossible.
It is advisable to keep abreast of the value of your contents regularly to ensure that the requirements you are disclosing to your insurers are adequate. For specialist pieces of art and antique furniture in particular, it may be prudent to have them valued every few years by professional opinion, to ensure you receive fair recompense so that you could replace them with a similar piece. The same can be said for jewellery and precious metals, where items over a certain value may require more regular valuations, perhaps once every two or three years.
Due to fluctuations in the value of precious metals, it is recommended and encouraged to ensure up-to-date valuations are maintained.
Listed Buildings under Renovation
From the 1970s, changes in planning regulations were implemented to protect the aesthetics of buildings themselves, as well as the surrounding area, leaving very little scope to alter the external appearance or add to the superstructure of a property.
While this may seem to be restrictive, modern building materials can still be utilised internally, allowing for a warm, energy-efficient environment to be created within. The fusion of historic and present-day can provide a perfect blend of contemporary open-plan living with beautiful period features, such as distinctive exposed timbers, exquisite hardwood floors, and spacious vaulted ceilings.
It is vital to note, however, that even if the fabric of the property will not be altered, and no Planning Permission is required for your project, you should still inform your existing insurance company of your plans. It is a requirement on most policies that renovations be disclosed, the scale of which notwithstanding, and your cover could be invalidated as a result of any omission. Furthermore, a studious insurance advisor can also assist in ensuring that any contractors completing renovations on your behalf are also adequately covered for the scope of the task at hand.
As a specialist in niche property insurance, the experienced team of advisors at GSI Insurance Services (Southern) Ltd are highly trained and infinitely knowledgeable when it comes to meeting the needs of judicious clientele. A unique property not only requires, but also deserves a bespoke policy that is tailored to its individual specification.
With over a decade of specialising in niche commercial and residential property, we are perfectly situated to provide succinct advice and comprehensive coverage. We will take the time to understand the particulars of your estate and orchestrate an arrangement that will give you peace of mind.
Why not give GSI Insurance Services (Southern) Ltd a call on 0800 612 9376 to discuss your individual requirements? We would be delighted to assist.