How To Insure Your Heritage Property
Safety and Security

How To Insure Your Heritage Property

If you’ve taken the plunge and purchased a heritage property, then you’ll understand how critical it is to insure your new investment. Not only will you be protecting your family home, you’ll be safeguarding the future of a notable historical building as well.

However, insuring a heritage property isn’t quite as simple as an everyday home. Let’s take a look at how to get great coverage with minimal fuss and expense.

What Is A Heritage Property?

In general, a heritage property is a building that retains a high degree of historical or cultural significance. Local councils tend to be in charge of designating such properties, so contact them directly if you have any questions about a particular home. A historical heritage management plan is required for projects that involve potential impact to historical heritage, in compliance with state or territory legislation in Australia. Most heritage properties tend to be older constructions. However, in some cases, newer buildings could be designated a heritage listing, if they have been the dwelling of a significant person.

Prepare Your Heritage Listed House

The most important thing to know while shopping for insurance is that your premium will depend on the state of your house. After all, a well-maintained abode is far less likely to require a claim. With that in mind, take the following steps, where necessary, to get your heritage home into tip-top shape.

  • Ensure your wiring is in excellent condition
  • Install a state-of-the-art smoke alarm
  • Install a modern carbon dioxide detector
  • Fix any structural issues
  • Remove mould
  • Update your Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system
  • Replace worn-down windows and doors (if permitted)
  • Ensure all appliances meet the mandated government safety requirements

Keep Adequate Records

Gather detailed records of all of the above, and for any prior maintenance works or renovations, wherever possible. In addition, collect documentation that relates to zoning, heritage designations, renovations, planning, repairs, and classifications. You should also identify what makes your home unique and document these characteristics. Take photos of its special features and gather relevant factual documentation such as newspaper articles.

The more an insurer knows about your home, the more accurate their assessment will be.

Choose An Appropriate Insurer

Not all home insurance policies are suitable for heritage homes. Some insurers may vastly undervalue your property simply because they don’t have enough experience working with heritage listings. Finding the right insurer for your property can make all the difference. Insist on an insurer with a proven track record.

Get Appropriate Coverage

It’s prudent to insure your property for its Actual Cash Value (AVC), which refers to the cost of replacing it entirely at the current market rate. The smaller Replacement Value (RV) refers to the cost of rebuilding or repairing the home to restore it to its former state. This may lead to a loss of capital in a disaster situation. You’ll also likely want contents insurance to cover your personal belongings. Be sure to do a detailed home inventory of all your valuables, which will help immensely should you need to make a claim.

What To Do In A Disaster Situation

First of all, liaise with your council and builder to determine how long you expect the repair process to take. Most insurance policies will pay displacement costs, such as hotels, for the interim period. You’ll also need to pinpoint any regulations that govern the repair procedure. Given their age, heritage homes may contain asbestos, which your builder will need to identify and safely remove. Ensure that your builder has adequate experience in repairing a heritage home, as that will be a major plus in the repair process.

Given the complexities of its design and the additional red tape involved, repairing a heritage listed home can be a costly and time-consuming process. However, the procedure will be infinitely easier with the right heritage home insurance plan in place. For a deeper understanding, engage the services of a local heritage consultancy in your area.

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