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Does home insurance for an older property cost you more?

Find out how a property's age affects how much you pay

Older houses can be full or charm and character, but they often come with higher costs than new-build homes – to the point where you could pay up to £43 more annually for home insurance, recent data shows.  

The report, from Consumer Intelligence, shows how the cost of home insurance is influenced by the year your home was built.

Find out the insurance costs and risk factors you need to consider when buying an older home.


How much does it cost to insure an older home?

The age of your property can determine the size of your annual insurance bill.

Homes built towards the end of the 19th century have the highest home-insurance premiums, coming in at around £160 a year, Consumer Intelligence found.

By contrast, properties build post-2000, including new-build homes, are cheaper to insure, with an average annual home insurance premium of £117, £43 cheaper.

Overall, the average UK buildings and contents policy costs £133 annually.

The chart below shows how the average annual home insurance premium differs according to a property’s age.

 

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly cited these figures as monthly, rather than annual, and stated that insuring a Victorian home could be £500 more expensive per year than a new-build. This is incorrect and the data has been updated.

Why do older homes have a higher premium?

Higher home insurance premium for older properties reflect the higher cost of claims made by their owners.

You’re more likely to need to make a claim for an older homes, as the roofing, plumbing and wiring are prone to wear out or develop faults.

And when repairs are needed, replacement materials for 19th century houses are more expensive to source.

Insurers factor in the higher cost they’re likely to incur from these properties, and charge owners more accordingly.

Risks of buying an older home

In addition to higher insurance premiums, there are several  risks to consider if you’re thinking about buying an older property. These include:

Dangerous substances

Older properties are at risk of containing dangerous substances like lead and asbestos which were commonly used in the construction of properties until relatively recently. 

Subsidence

Victorian and Edwardian homes have a higher risk of subsidence than newer properties. Subsidence happens when the foundation of a house collapses or sinks and often causes sudden cracks to appear in plaster or brickwork.

Damp and mould

Older buildings are more likely to develop damp and mould than newer homes as they were not built with damp proof materials and roof felting.

Electrical wiring and plumbing

Electrical wiring and plumbing systems in older homes can often fall below the standard needed by households today.

It’s important arrange a house survey before purchasing a home, to make sure that you’re aware of any issues that you may need to pay to repair at a later stage.

How to keep your home insurance premium down

If you already have an older property, there are several ways that you can reduce the cost of your premium.

Improve your home security

You can reduce the cost of your home insurance premium if your insurer considers you a low risk customer. Installing things like more robust locks and burglar alarms could help you pay less if you report them when you renew your policy.

Consider smart technology

Some insurance companies offer rewards for homes protected with smart gadgets.

Things like leak detection devices and smart smoke alarms can help you limit the damage caused by accidents and unforeseen incidents around your home.

Insurers like Neos, for example, install smart sensors as part of their home insurance policy to allow people to actively protect their home and avoid bad things happening.

Use a valuation calculator

A lot of policyholders tend to overpay for their home insurance by incorrectly calculating the value of their buildings and contents insurance.

Using a tool, such as a contents insurance calculator, can help you get an accurate idea of how much cover you need. 

Shop around

Shopping around can really help you to find a the best home insurance deal. Using price comparison websites is a great way to see what’s on offer and which insurers can provide the right cover for your needs. Don’t just go for the cheapest policy though, as it may not be suitable.

To help you find the best insurer, we’ve analysed  the standard contents insurance and buildings insurance policies of more than 30 providers, and combined it with feedback from thousands of customers to produce impartial home insurance company insurance reviews.

You can also find useful tips in our comprehensive home insurance guide and the short video below.

 

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