Don’t let the need for non-standard buildings insurance put you off your dream house
Who wants to live in a boring brick house? Many of us are drawn to a home that is a bit more quirky and unusual: non-standard construction buildings with interesting textures and surfaces, often using locally available materials. Before you buy your unique non-standard house, it is worth giving some consideration to the insurance implications.
Which properties are classed as ‘non-standard ’?
A standard house is usually made from brick or stone, with a tiled roof. There is a huge range of homes that fall outside this description: for example thatched cottages, timber-framed buildings, pre-fabricated concrete structures, and straw bale houses.
These homes of non-standard construction pose a different level of risk to the insurer because of the building materials used. Thatch poses a greater fire risk, for example, while concrete deteriorates quicker than traditional building materials. Other types of houses might need specialist builders and expensive materials to carry out repairs.
Should this put me off buying a non-standard property?
The requirement for non-standard buildings insurance should certainly not put you off buying your dream home, but you do need to understand the implications for the cost of insurance premiums and maintenance.
Insurance for a non-standard construction home is usually provided by an expert team with specialist knowledge of the risks associated with particular building materials. The insurance policy is unlikely to be the cheapest available, but at least you can be sure it’s adequately covering your non-standard property.
The weird and wonderful world of non-standard properties
It would be remiss to discuss the risks and costs associated with non-standard properties without also mentioning the fascinating variety of building materials out there. Living in one of these homes can be a very rewarding experience. Let’s consider some of the materials you might come across.
Commonly known as prefabs, these post-war houses were intended to be short-term accommodation for bombed-out families in the 1940s and 50s. Many have outlived their life expectancy considerably and continue to be much loved by their owners, although most have been renovated to provide extra insulation.
Seaside towns in Sussex were booming in the 18th and 19th centuries, with holidaymakers flocking to fashionable resorts like Lewes and Brighton. New accommodation was rapidly built, including houses made from bungaroosh, made by fixing odd bits of brick, flint, wood or cobbles into a hydraulic lime mortar. It looks charming but is prone to damage from moisture fluctuation.
You could have your own hobbit-style house made from cob, a material made by mixing clay soil with sand, gravel and water. The earthy results are rustic and beautiful but need protection from damp and the elements.
This building material is a kind of chalk – harder than your average blackboard chalk, to be sure, but nonetheless still soft as building materials go. It was quarried in the East of England and used in big blocks, often interlaid with dark contrasting materials.
This eco-friendly insulating material is made from the woody cores of hemp plants (shives) and a lime-based binder. Hempcrete is lightweight, strong and breathable and it hardens over time, making it more durable than many conventional materials.
If your property is of non-standard construction, talk to the experts at Computerquote Insurance – that way, you can sure you’re getting the right level of cover for your individual circumstances.