Few things in life can be as catastrophic as a house fire. Losing your home – perhaps due to fire – and not being able to rebuild it not only has a huge impact on your life, but if the property is Listed, it will also have an impact on the historic environment of the country. People caring for and living in Listed properties often say that they feel they are custodians of these properties, maintaining them for future generations to enjoy.
Following major damage, such as that caused by flooding or fire, many Listed buildings fall onto the Buildings At Risk Register becoming unused and unloved. Unfortunately homeowners – and not just Listed property owners – often overlook their responsibility to ensure their home is insured for the correct value and preserved for generations to come.
Listed property owners have much to think about – and insurance is vital to ensure the future protection of the building. Local authorities are extremely prescriptive when it comes to materials and techniques used in reconstruction work. Allowing for the costs of this is important when purchasing insurance – and an excellent reason NOT to use a comparison site from which to buy insurance. It is worth considering asking a surveyor to undertake a site survey and provide a report as to what would be required should restoration work be necessary. If you are actually unable to communicate to your insurers the true state and value before any damage occurs, your insurance company may not respond in the way you hope should you have to make a claim. The result of this? A funding crisis, or a building left to deteriorate.
Sadly, people are under valuing their homes when it comes to insurance. This is such a dangerous way to save a few pounds – imagine the cost of a rebuild and compare that to saving a few pounds on the premium costs and you can understand what you stand to lose. In simple terms, rebuild costs are based on the size of your home and the materials used in its construction. Some of the work may have to be undertaken by specialist craftsmen and so the cost is increased here also. Technology has come to the aid of the homeowner though as there is data available from the Ordnance Survey and sites such as Google Earth means a site visit – although ideal – can be less of a necessity. An experienced surveyor working with this data and through holding conversations with the homeowner will be able to reach an appropriate figure at which to insure the property. Do not be tempted to look at the free 'valuation' sites on the internet, some of these values are known to be dangerously low and they cannot take into account the individual features and materials which made you fall in love with your Listed property.
People often comment that it would be impossible to replicate a historic building should it be destroyed. In actual fact, if you have sufficient cover in place, you can achieve the look you desire. For the cost of proper insurance cover, you can rest assured that suitable materials and the skills required to make the most of them can be sourced without much fuss.
In the first instance, speak with a professional insurance company. Westhill Insurance Services has excellent experience of insuring Listed properties. Their friendly and knowledgeable team will take time to make sure they have all the necessary information to be able to find the right insurance for your particular needs. As independent brokers, they will make sure they find you the best possible insurance to meet your budget – and their advice and guidance are free!
Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.