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Listed building insurance

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What’s a listed building?

A listed property is one that’s considered to have special architectural, cultural or historical importance.

You’ll usually need to get planning authority permission before you can make any changes to a listed building. And because specialist craftsmen or materials may be needed, listed homes generally cost more to repair and maintain.

Generally, the older a building is the more likely it is to be listed. Most listed properties are much older than standard homes and all properties that were built before 1700 and are still in their original condition are listed.

Listed buildings are put into one of the following grades or categories:

  • Grade I, II*, and Grade II in England and Wales
  • Category A, B and C in Scotland
  • Grade A, B+, B1 and B2 in Northern Ireland

Most listed homes in England and Wales fall into Grade II and are listed because they have special historical or architectural interest.

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What is listed building insurance?

Listed building insurance is home insurance that’s specifically tailored to the unique nature of listed buildings and the techniques and materials required to repair them.

Because listed buildings are usually much older than standard homes, they’re often considered to be higher risk by insurers.

Their age and construction can make them more vulnerable to damage by things like fire, vandalism, damp or poor drainage.

Listed building insurance is designed to cover the higher rebuild costs, as well as the more expensive repairs and specialist expertise these homes might require.

What types of policy are there?

Listed building insurance works in a similar way to standard home insurance. It’ll cover the costs of repairs and replacements from unexpected situations, like fire, flooding and theft.

There are two types of home insurance you can take out for your listed building:

Buildings insurance

This covers the physical structure of your listed home, plus its permanent fixtures and fittings. It includes things like the roof, chimneys, walls and windows, and covers the cost of using original materials and specialist tradesmen. It can also extend to your shed and outbuildings.

Find out more about buildings insurance

Contents insurance

This will protect your belongings - like furniture, clothes and electrical items - against damage and theft. Each item is usually covered up to a set limit and anything worth more than this will need to be listed separately.

You can usually take out both types of cover with the same insurer as a combined policy, but always compare quotes first to find the best deal.

Find out more about contents insurance

  • What does listed buildings insurance cover?

    Listed buildings insurance covers your home for unexpected damage and typically includes cover for:

    • Damage from fire, flood and storms
    • Vandalism
    • Burst pipes
    • Burglary
    • Damage caused by falling trees
    • Subsidence
    • Temporary accommodation while your property is being repaired
  • What’s not covered?

    Not every situation will be covered, so you’ll need to check your policy wording carefully.

    Typical exclusions can include:

    • Damage due to general wear and tear
    • Costs for normal maintenance work
    • Unoccupied homes
    • Storm damage to fences
    • Damage caused by not looking after the property
    • Pest infestations

Are there any add-ons that provide extra cover?

Listed building insurance is specifically tailored to your home but there are extras you can add to your policy if you need them, which can cover things like:

Accidental damage

This covers the belongings in your home from accidental damage - for example, a broken window, or a wine stain on the carpet.

An unoccupied property

Most policies cover your home to be empty for up to 30 consecutive days but if you plan to leave your property for longer, this will extend the permitted unoccupied period.

Home emergencies

This provides protection for your boiler, plumbing and electrics. It’ll cover the cost of calling out an approved tradesperson and immediate repairs.

Legal expenses

This covers the cost of legal advice, as well as the fees associated with common property-related legal disputes and any claims that might be made against you.

Personal possessions

While contents insurance covers your belongings at home, this covers items you might carry around with you when you’re away from home.

Do you need home insurance for a listed building?

While home maintenance can help prevent wear and tear, home insurance protects you against costs for loss and damage caused by unexpected events like floods, fire or vandalism.

Because listed buildings often cost more to repair, taking out specialist home insurance could give you the right level of protection.

If you own a listed building, you may be responsible for making certain repairs. If you don’t take action, your local authority could do the work themselves and claim the costs from you.

Without home insurance, these unplanned expenses can leave a real hole in your finances.

Plus, if you’ve got a mortgage for your listed building, your lender will insist you have buildings insurance as a condition of the loan.

Does a listed building require specialist home insurance?

Depending on your insurer, specialist cover isn’t always essential, but you’ll need to check your policy wording carefully.

If your listed building was to get damaged, your local conservation office will also have a say in how it needs to be repaired, as well as your insurer.

It may require specific materials or specialist tradesmen to get it back to its original state, so make sure your policy will cover the full amount any repair work will cost.

Does it cost more to insure a listed building?

Yes, typically the premiums will cost more than what you’d pay for standard home insurance.

This is because the cost of rebuilding and repairing a listed home is usually more expensive due to the specialist materials and expertise that are typically needed.

These higher rebuild costs mean some standard insurers won’t cover listed buildings or offer the amount of cover you need, so in some cases you may need specialist cover.

Free £250 home excess cover, only with GoCompare^

If you need to claim on your home insurance - for example, if your building is damaged by subsidence or your possessions are stolen - your free home excess cover will refund up to £250 of your excess.

There’s no hidden charge. But you won't be covered for things like accidental loss such as leaving a laptop on a train or accidental damage, such as spilling wine on your carpet or drilling through a pipe.

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^UK residents and home insurance purchases only. Excess refunded after claim settled. Excludes accidental loss or damage claims made on your home insurance. Full T&Cs apply.

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How can I reduce the cost of my home insurance?

Although insuring a listed building is more expensive, there are a few things you can do to help lower the cost:

  1. Increase security

    Measures like approved burglar alarms and smoke detectors reduce the risk of your home being damaged, and insurers may give you a discount if you have them

  2. Raise your voluntary excess

    The higher the excess you agree to pay, the lower your premiums will be (make sure it’s still affordable though). But you’ll only make savings if you don’t need to make a claim

  3. Choose add-ons carefully

    To keep costs down, only select the policy add-ons you’ll really need. It’s also worth checking to see if you’re covered for any under another policy already

  4. Pay annually

    If you choose monthly payments, you’ll have to pay interest. Paying annually will cost you less overall

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Page last reviewed: 09 January 2023
Page reviewed by: Ceri McMillan