Question: I have had an offer accepted on a Grade C property in Edinburgh and need to get home insurance in place before exchanging contracts. Can I use an online comparison site to find a suitable insurance policy?
ANSWER: Insurance of listed buildings is very specialised and has to incorporate considerations way beyond the requirements of an ‘ordinary’ home. The higher costs of traditional building works and materials, the demands of your conservation officer, specialist planning needs and unauthorised work by previous owners - they all figure in the selection of a suitable policy.
Most mainstream insurance policies are designed around a broad ‘one size fits all’ approach which provides cover for buildings of ‘standard’ construction. This means that such insurance, as found on comparison sites, can be unsuitable for listed buildings as few fall into this category.
In the event of damage to your property, your conservation officer may specify that all repair or rebuilding work be carried out to their exact specifications using the appropriate traditional methods and materials. These are often more costly and repair work more time consuming. Your insurance policy must be designed to cover the use of such skills and period materials with an accurate re-build cost.
If a previous owner altered the building without consent, the local planning authority may require you to reverse those alterations at your own cost. When you are buying a listed building, you should always ensure you make suitable searches in order to make sure that all alterations have the correct consent. Providing you were not already aware of them, look for policies that include cover for unauthorised alterations to listed buildings by previous owners.
The only way to ensure your insurance policy is suitable for your unique home is to speak personally with an insurance expert who holds knowledge on the requirements of listed building owners. An insurance advisor will be available for you to speak with at The Scottish Listed Property Show.
If you own or are thinking of buying a listed building, don’t miss this event, with the biggest collection of listed building suppliers and experts under one roof.
Plus, you can meet face-to-face with experts on planning, legal issues, insurance, damp, energy efficiency and independent conservation officers for impartial help and advice.
The Scottish Listed Property Show takes place on Saturday, 27 October at the Assembly Rooms, George Street, Edinburgh.
Book tickets in advance for a discounted price of £8 when you quote SM3.
Visit www.lpoc.scot or call 0131 357 3300
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