Listed Property Owners’ Club creates free Insurance Guide for listed property owners

If disaster strikes you may well be required by law to reinstate using traditional materials and methods matching the original, irrespective of cost. Would your present insurer be willing to cover the full costs? If not, can you imagine the consequences…?

It is vital that appropriate cover is obtained for listed homes as general insurance providers may only provide enough cover for a minimal ‘standard’ rebuild, leaving you to finance the shortfall should the worst happen. It is worth remembering that work on these buildings requires traditional materials and skills which will normally be more time consuming and expensive.

It is also worth remembering that sadly listed buildings are vulnerable to unauthorised works by previous owners. Prospective owners must be aware of the problems unearthing unauthorised works can cause, as the following owners case study shows:

Listed Home Owner Case Study

In October 2016 an owner purchased a listed building. Prior to that purchase they first queried whether the evident alterations to the building had received the proper permissions from the local authorities. The prospective owner was then assured by their local solicitor that the correct permissions had been given and all alterations were above board.

After purchasing the property, the owner contacted the council to seek permission to make their own alterations. After a site visit, the council advised that previous alterations made to the building by previous owners did not comply with planning regulations and there were no records of permission being granted.

Unauthorised changes by previous owners legally fall to the responsibility of the current owner to rectify, therefore the client was required by law to reverse or ‘make-good’ any alterations, at their own cost. And in this case these costs were likely to reach £100,000.

The owner’s insurers initially declined the claim for the works, however, because the owner had chosen to insure via a specialist advisory broker, the broker fought their corner and took the claim back to the insurer. The decision was then overturned as the broker argued that the client had done what a reasonable person could be expected to do in relying on their solicitor’s advice.

This case study shows how important it is that the insurance policy has the correct cover in place for specifics relating to listed buildings, and in this particular case that was unauthorised works by previous owners. This is not something a ‘standard’ policy would include. It also highlights the advantages of using a specialist broker who understands listed buildings and can fight on your behalf during the claims procedure.

Free ‘Guide to Insuring Your Listed Property’

The Listed Property Owners’ Club (LPOC) unfortunately often hears from listed property owners who only realise they are under-insured when things go wrong whilst undergoing a claim. They turn to the Club for help and advice with finding solutions and resolving their problems. ‘A Guide to Insuring Your Listed Property’ was created by LPOC, drawing on over 20 years’ experience of the hazards of listed property ownership, to educate and empower listed property owners to make informed decisions when insuring their listed property.

The free Guide to Insuring has essential information on how to make sure your policy is right for your listed home; from unapproved changes by previous owners to alternative accommodation, works cover to additional allowances to sum insured. The guide also provides useful jargon busters and helpful tips such as ‘How to calculate the sum insured’ and ‘How to avoid claims’.