Due to their unique nature, non-standard buildings insurance valuations can be much more complicated to establish – making it difficult to get the correct buildings insurance cover.

Non-standard buildings are typically older and constructed with more expensive or unique materials.
As well as the construction materials, skilled labour and the location play a big part in determining the correct rebuild value and adequate buildings insurance cover.

Examples of non-standard residential properties:

  • Thatched properties: These can be expensive to repair, and can suffer extensive fire damage
  • Listed buildings: Most are over 100 years old and can be expensive to repair using traditional materials and methods
  • Larger properties: Homes insured for a value over £1M, or with more than six bedrooms
  • Unusual construction properties: This includes steel or timber framed buildings, because they can be expensive to repair

Buildings insurance for residential property can be provided in different ways depending on the type of building:

  1. Bedroom rated insurance: Some buildings insurance providers will base how much cover you need on the number of bedrooms you have. For example, if you have a two-bedroom house, they may give you up to £250,000 of buildings insurance cover, or £350,000 if you have a four-bedroom house.
  2. Blanket cover: Some insurers set a standard claim limit for their policies, regardless of how much your house would cost to rebuild. This is usually a high amount, for example £1 million, or even unlimited, so you know you should be covered for any repairs you need.
  3. Rebuild cost: Some policies set the cover level at the cost of rebuilding your home from scratch if it was destroyed.

Rebuild cost-based buildings insurance & non-standard buildings insurance valuations

With a non-standard residential property, it is more likely that your chosen insurer will not provide cover on a bedroom rated or blanket basis, but rather a rebuild cost.

If your insurance policy is based on a rebuild cost, it’s imperative that the rebuild cost you provide when you take out the policy, is accurate and includes everything that is referred to within the insurers definition of ‘buildings’.

Examples of property features which contribute to the ‘buildings’ and rebuild cost:

  • The structure of the home
  • All fixtures and fittings e.g., kitchens, bathrooms
  • Oil & gas tanks and cesspits
  • Permanent swimming pools
  • Tennis hard courts
  • Walls, gates, fences and hedges
  • Terraces and patios
  • Drives and paths
  • Car ports and garages
  • Sheds, greenhouses, summer houses and other buildings

The rebuild cost is not the same as the market value, it’s the amount it would cost to completely rebuild your home if it was destroyed beyond repair. It includes the price of labour and materials.

This cost is usually different to your home’s sale price or market value. Very large, older buildings in a remote location may have a higher rebuild cost than their market value, whereas a small building, in a highly sort after, location will have a rebuild cost lower than its market value. Basing your policy on your home’s rebuild cost will prevent you from over-insuring and paying higher premiums than necessary.

The importance of a correct rebuild cost

While you want to ensure that you are not over-paying on your premium and therefore overinsured, you most certainly don’t want to be underinsured.

You shouldn’t try to make savings on your premium without checking the rebuild cost with an experienced building insurance surveyor.

Reinstatement Cost Assessment

The RICS recommend that a Reinstatement Cost Assessment is undertaken every 3 to 5 years to establish an accurate rebuild cost.

This involves an experienced building insurance surveyor visiting and assessing all aspects of the property to create a detailed report. The report will include the specific rebuild cost of your property, which you can then provide to obtain the correct buildings insurance cover. This will ensure that in the event of a valid claim, you receive the appropriate cost to repair or reinstate your property.

To find out about a Reinstatement Cost Assessment for your property, please call 01455 293 510 or email info@bch.uk.com.

For help with establishing the rebuild cost of your property, please contact us on 01455 293510 or email info@bch.uk.com.