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What makes a Forever Home and why you need specialist insurance for it?

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May 12, 2021
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Forever Homes are extra special places that we love and aim to live in for as long as we possibly can.

Some of these are “ordinary” homes that have odd characteristics that elevate them into your dream residence. It might be the quaint thatched roof, the rambling outbuildings or the collection of fine wine in the cellar, Forever Homes can come in all shapes and sizes.

Here the household insurance team at Adrian Flux takes a look at some characteristics of the nation’s Forever Homes and explains why they need extra special non-standard household insurance cover.

Three types of non-standard home

Non-standard “Forever Homes” can be broadly broken down into three categories:

  • Homes with unusual features (thatched roofs, antique stained glass windows, outbuildings & stables, solar panels etc)
  • Homes with historic significance (blue plaques, local authority listings, conservation areas)
  • Homes with valuable or rare collections (coins, stamps, records, die-cast model cars, fine wine etc) and high value items.

Forever Homes with unusual features

It may be the way it’s built or the materials with which it is built, but homes with unusual features are non-standard insurance risks because they will inevitably cost more money to repair when things go wrong.

Thatched roofs

House with thatched roof in the background and bushes in the foreground

Image source: Liv Cashman via Unsplash

Thatched roofs look incredibly quaint and are a quintessential part of the British countryside, but they present some very special risks to insurers, the main being the risk of fire. Thatched roofs are at greater risk of fire than traditional tiled roofs and once fire takes hold on thatch it is very difficult to deal with.

The main causes of fire in thatch are stray sparks from chimneys, discarded cigarettes and garden bonfires, and the risk is even higher in the summer and during long periods of drought.

Thatch also presents a significant risk of pest infestation which is unlikely to be covered under a household policy, not even as an extra. While this may not destroy your thatched roof it may necessitate expensive maintenance and repair by specialists.

Stained glass windows

Antique stained glass looks stunning but it can be fragile and can cost a small fortune to repair, so if you have some stained glass in your home it may need to be listed as a non-standard risk on your household policy.

And if your home is of historical significance you may need special permission to get the work done and you would need to contract artisan craftsman licenced to do the work using traditional materials and methods which will add significantly to any repair bill.

Outbuildings

Sheds and outbuildings are generally covered by standard home insurance policies but you should check your policy does not exclude them and that your cover is sufficient to have them rebuilt in the event of their total loss.

Solar panels

Homes that have solar panels fitted or use other alternative methods to heat them, such as wind power, may be economical but if they are damaged the repair bills will be higher than with your traditional carbon fuelled home. Solar panels and other alternative fuel will make your home a non-standard risk.

Wood built homes

Wooden homes are, by their nature, a non-standard insurance risk. Whether it is a self-build home, a wooden framed home or a log cabin, your wood built home will need to be insured as a non-standard risk.

Homes with historic significance

Historically significant buildings are irreplaceable, once they’re gone, they’re gone, that’s why as a nation we take so much time trying to preserve elements from our past.

Blue plaques

Churchill Blue Plaque

Image source: English Heritage

A blue plaque is a permanent sign installed to commemorate a link between that location and a famous person, event, or former building on the site, serving as a historical marker. If your home is lucky enough to have a blue plaque installed on it, it will likely have transformed it into a Forever Home demanding non-standard household insurance.

There are 900 official blue plaques in London alone but they don’t have to be used to commemorate the lives of real people. In 1990, a blue plaque was installed at 221B Baker Street, London, celebrating the life of Conan Doyle’s fictional violin playing detective Sherlock Holmes.

Architectural and historical listing

If your home is listed with the local authority, Historic England, Historic Environment Division (Northern Ireland), Historic Environment Scotland, or Cadw in Wales, as being of special historical or architectural significance, it will need non-standard insurance.

That is because your home can only be repaired or renovated with special permission and materials used will need to be in keeping with the style and original construction of your house. This will inevitably push up the cost of repairs.

It is a similar story if your home is situated in a local authority conservation area.

Homes with valuable collections and high value goods

We are a nation or hoarders and collectors, but how much is your collection worth?

Valuable collections

Records scattered around the shot

Image source: Matthias Groeneveld via Pexels

While one stamp in an album may be worth only a few pennies, a huge collection of them may be worth thousands of pounds. That’s why you should tell your insurer about any collections you have and provide an expert valuation so we know what they are worth and what they will cost to replace.

Whether your collection is stamps, coins, die-cast model cars, records, paintings or fine wine, you should get them valued collectively and have them itemised on your insurance schedule.

Your collection will set your insurance needs away from the run of the mill and you will definitely need non-standard cover.

High value items

In the case of specialist household insurance broker Adrian Flux, single items with a value of £1,000 or more must be declared and listed individually for insurance purposes.

So whether it’s jewellery, the latest 60in wall mounted plasma screen, or a Dutch masterpiece hanging in the lounge, you must declare it and any other items worth in excess of £1,000 to the insurer of your Forever Home.

Special protection for the things you love

To find out how to get the best protection for your Forever Home and the thing inside it that you love, contact the household insurance experts at Adrian Flux on  0800 369 8590 — our best deals are normally only available over the phone.

Visit Adrian Flux to find out more about our cheap specialist household insurance cover.




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