Specialist, Non standard
Friday, 18 April 2014
Is your home non-standard?
There are lots of houses that might be defined as “non-standard” for insurance purposes, far more than you might expect. In fact, the insurers’ definition of a “standard home” is much easier to define; if it has brick or stone walls and a slate or tile roof, then it’s considered standard. If it deviates from this in any way, then there is a good chance it will be considered non-standard.
Non-standard construction home insurance can be harder to obtain than insurance for a regular homes; not necessarily because it is at greater risk, but because when something does go wrong it can be harder to put thing right again.
What is a non-standard home?
Non-standard homes could include anything from thatched cottages, timber framed homes, or concrete and pre-fabricated houses. Often older buildings also fall into the non-standard category, especially if they have listed status, and are included because their construction method is no longer widely practiced. Some non-standard homes are region-specific, made from indigenous building materials found locally that may now be harder to source. This is frequently the case with thatched properties, which may be thatched using reed or straw that is no longer grown or farmed in the same way as it was when first constructed.
Concrete and prefabricated homes
The concrete or prefabricated homes of post-war Britain sprang up in vast numbers to replace the buildings lost to the Blitz. Though there are now over a million of these types of home located in various places across the UK, they are still considered non-standard as they only account for a small proportion of the total homes here. They are also considered non-standard because many were built with a very limited life-span.
Concrete is not designed to last as long as brick or stone, and the post-war homes were originally only intended as stop-gap solutions until something long-term could be implemented. This poses a problem for the current owners of such properties as they try to find modern construction home insurance.
Modern materials home insurance is required for any home made from concrete, which is prone to crumbling under pressure from the elements. Concrete walls are bound together by steel pylons running through their core, this steel is also susceptible to corrosion and the combined effect can cause walls to crack and fall apart. Because it is hard to get a mortgage for this type of property, the current occupants are often stuck with them and are also likely to find them hard to insure. This is true even when your concrete home is showing no signs of degradation at all, as the perception is that this will not be the case for much longer.
Non standard home insurance
Homes built purely from timber are likely to entail similar problems, though many are still being built today owing to their affordability in terms of construction. In the current economic climate and with a housing shortage (if not already upon us, then certainly looming on the horizon), this type of solution is coming back into fashion.
The modern self-build can allow people the chance to have their own homes without waiting for an existing building to become available in their chosen location but, because of the limited lifespan of a timber home, it could be difficult to sell-on and to cover with non-standard construction home insurance.
If you have a non-standard home, you can always obtain a competitive online quote from HomeProtect. We believe that non-standard construction home insurance should be available where it is needed, no matter what your home is made from.