We are delighted that the Daily Mail recognised Macbeth as an expert in insuring wealthy individuals in a recent article titled “It’s expensive to repair a listed property…so don’t scrimp on cover” Read on for details!
Living in a listed property may seem like a dream, but while the appeal of a beautiful and historic home is obvious, the hidden costs are not. There are more than 500,000 listed properties in the UK and specialist insurers are warning that many owners of period and listed homes are unknowingly underinsured.
The cost of rebuilding and repairing damage is high because the character of the property has to be maintained. This usually means finding specific and often rare materials, along with skilled craftsmen and builders. With the arts of thatching, stone masonry and glazing dying out, even repairing a small amount of damage can be expensive.
NFU Mutual, which offers specialist valuations and buildings insurance for listed homes, says detailed and regular valuations by surveyors who understand listed buildings are essential. It recommends they are done at least every five years.
Retired GP Jeremy Barnes, 72, from Ashleworth, Gloucestershire, and his wife, Mary, 70, a retired magistrate, are the owners of a Grade II-listed farmhouse
Finding the right insurer is also important. Tracey Warren at the Listed Property Owners Club says owners of listed buildings should not rely on insurance from mainstream providers.
‘Homeowners who just go onto comparison websites or buy basic cover online usually won’t be asked if their property is listed and this can be dangerous,’ he says.
‘Ordinary insurance policies will miss the fact that the rebuild cost of a listed building can be substantially higher than the value of the property. We’ve seen terrible cases of underinsurance where a High Street insurer has refused to pay up because it says it was the owner’s responsibility to inform them the property was listed.
‘We recommend owners of listed properties seek specialist valuation and insurance advice from a broker.’
Always check reinstatement or rebuild cover against the property valuation on your policy. English Heritage, the charity that protects and promotes historic buildings, can insist that you use like-for-like methods and materials to rebuild a listed property. These will usually be more expensive than the modern equivalents.
If you are thinking about buying a listed property check that any alterations have been approved.
Warren says: ‘Buyers can find themselves liable for costs of returning the property to its original state if it is found that the alterations did not have official approval or are detrimental to the fabric of the building.’
A number of insurers – such as Adrian Flux, Aviva, Ecclesiastical and Norwich & Peterborough Building Society – cover listed properties, although for homes with thatched roofs there is a smaller selection. Many insurers who specialise in wealthy clients, such as Hiscox and Macbeth, will also cover period homes.