Non Standard Home Insurance

Insurance for non standard buildings

Non Standard Home Insurance

If your home building is of a non-standard construction it will require non standard home insurance and may be subject to an increased premium when paying for building insurance. When calculating premiums the insurers use a standard definition assuming that the building is of standard construction and is not unusual in any way. There is usually a question on a proposal form or it may even be contained within a statement of fact document.

Non-standard types of building are deemed to be those that do not fall into this category and a premium is usually added when quoting on anything that falls outside this norm. Some insurers will not quote for certain types of non-standard building at all. Standard construction includes buildings that are made of brick, concrete or stone with roofing constructed in slate, tile or concrete and all sitting on concrete foundations. Some insurers will allow felt and metal as standard roofing materials depending on   the proportion of the roof that is flat.

Insurers refer to a roof that is pitched as standard. If any of the roof is flat in its design, as is usually the case with any extensions to the original building, an insurance quotation will typically be covered by standard rates as long as the flat part of the roof does not exceed more than 20% of the total roof area. This is because flat roofs have tended to leak and their life expectancy is approximately 10 years.

Brick, mortar and stone are the usual materials to be used in the construction of a building. However, there are other non-standard materials also to be found which are listed below.

TIMBER FRAME:

Many houses are nowadays made using timber frame, as were old style buildings which are now listed properties. Insurers sometimes class these as standard construction as they are of a sturdy design. Holiday chalets which are made wholly of wood are always seen as non-standard.

COB:

Cob is made of mud mixed with straw or with animal dung, rendered with cement. This may mean that it is unable to dry out and, therefore, it will be likely to decline and collapse over time. Modern cob is now pre dried meaning that this does not occur.

WEATHER BOARDING:

This is added for decorative purposes and is not part of the actual construction of the building. It may aid protection of the building against the weather conditions.

MUNDIC BLOCK:

Many homes in both Devon and Cornwall were made using waste mining materials because it was available cheaply in the area. These houses have been susceptible to decline over the years due to the fact that impurities found in the waste materials have caused chemical reactions. Consequently, it is highly unlikely that any insurer will give a quotation on such a property. Likewise, it is doubtful whether any mortgage provider would secure a mortgage on a property that is constructed using mundic block.

THATCH:

These properties are classed as non-standard due to the fire risk. Although statistically a thatched property is no more likely to catch fire than an unthatched one, due to the materials used in the thatching if a fire starts the damage could be more wide spread.

WATTLE AND DAUB:

This consists of a woven lattice of poles or stakes that are covered by a mixture of clay and sand or straw and dung. The wattle and daub is then whitewashed to help with waterproofing.

As well as these building techniques a property may contain asbestos, plastic sheeting, corrugated iron, metal, prefabricated materials or strammit. If you think that any of these materials or construction methods have been employed then your insurer should be informed when obtaining an insurance quotation. If you are not sure what your property is made from then it is advisable to look at your survey report or to consult a surveyor. Any false declaration to an insurance company with regard to your property will mean that your insurance could be invalid and any claim will be declined.

At Highhouse Insurance, we have facilities to quote for a wide range of non-standard buildings.   We speak to many people who have found it difficult to find suitable insurance for their property and we are pleased that in the majority of cases, we are able to offer assistance.