How Old Is My House? Key Info for Home Insurance Quotes

May 31st, 2024
How Old Is My House? Key Info for Home Insurance Quotes

Key Highlights:

Insurance companies need to know your home’s age for precise quotes

  • Older homes can have higher insurance costs due to increased risks
  • You can find out your property’s age in several ways
  • Some period properties might need specialist insurance

When you’re shopping for home insurance quotes, one of the key things insurers will want to know is how old your property is. Older homes often cost more to insure because they might have outdated materials and building methods that are more expensive to repair or replace.

How Can I Find Out My House’s Age?

There are a few ways to get a fairly accurate idea of your home’s age:

  1. Look at your title deeds: Check for the date the land was first transferred from the developer to the original owner.
  2. Go through your mortgage survey or offer paperwork which often mentions the property’s age.
  3. Review your home survey report if you had one done when buying.
  4. Contact the local authority to see if they have records of when planning permission was granted.
  5. Get in touch with the HM Land Registry for a copy of the title register.

Using the HM Land Registry to Find My Property’s Age

The HM Land Registry has title deeds for over 25 million homes in England and Wales. For just £3, you can download a copy of your title register which will show when the land was first transferred from the property developer to the original owner – a solid clue to the build date.

Using the HM Land Registry to Find My Property’s Age

More Ways to Work Out My Home’s Age

  1. Check your mortgage survey or offer documents as they often state the property’s age.
  2. Look at your home survey report if you had one done when buying.
  3. Ask the local authority if they have records of when planning permission was granted.
  4. See if the property information form the seller filled out mentions the build date.
  5. Chat with neighbours in similar style houses to see if they know when theirs were built.
  6. Reach out to the previous owner to see if they have documents showing the age.
  7. Consider the architectural style for hints:
  • Tudor (1485-1603): Half-timber frames, wattle and daub, overhanging upper floors
  • Georgian (1714-1837): Symmetrical, tall windows, columns by the front door
  • Victorian (1837-1901): Terraced, geometric tiled halls, decorative plasterwork
  • Edwardian (1901-1914): Wide, bright rooms, red brick, bay windows

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Tips for Finding the Age of an Older Property

If you have a period home, give these a go:

  1. Visit to find your nearest archive with historical records like building plans and maps.
  2. Look at census records from 1841 to 1911 for the first mention of your address.
  3. Check if your property is in the 1862 Land Registry Act which lists around 2,000 registered homes.
  4. See if your house is on the National Heritage List for England or Cadw’s National Historic Assets of Wales
  5. Ask a local history society or house detective for help researching your home’s past.
  6. The British Library has fire insurance maps back to 1885 which may show when your property first popped up.

Why Knowing My House’s Age Matters

Giving your insurer an accurate build date is important because it affects your premiums. It’s also handy info when selling as older homes, especially period properties, can go for higher prices.

Plus, knowing your home’s history is just plain interesting. It also means you can do sympathetic renovations and find authentic materials for repairs.

Why Knowing My House’s Age Matters

Do Older Homes Cost More to Insure?

While very popular with buyers, period properties usually cost more to insure than modern homes. Our figures show the average premium for a house built in the last 3 years is £150, compared to £190 for an older property.

This price gap is down to things like higher risk and rebuild costs that come with ageing structures, outdated wiring and plumbing, and pricey roof repairs.

"The age of your house directly impacts your home insurance costs. Insurers consider older properties to be higher risk due to factors like ageing wiring, antiquated plumbing, and expensive roof repairs. Staying on top of home maintenance can help mitigate some of these risks and potentially lower your premiums." Oliver Knight – Insurance Expert

Some older houses, like listed buildings or those with thatched roofs, might need specialist insurance which costs more.

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How Does the Age of My House Affect My Home Insurance Quotes?

The age of your house is a big factor in deciding both its market value and your home insurance premiums. Older homes, especially those with historical significance or period features, often have a higher market value. However, they can also be more expensive to insure due to the increased risk of structural problems and the potential need for specialised repairs.

When calculating your home insurance quotes, insurers will consider the rebuild cost of your property, which is directly influenced by its age and condition. Older homes may require more expensive materials and specialist tradespeople to repair or rebuild, which can drive up your insurance costs.

Can House Surveys Help Me Assess Insurance Risks?

Investing in a comprehensive house survey can give you valuable information for both the buying process and your home insurance needs. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) offers several types of surveys, each with different levels of detail and associated survey costs.

A RICS Home Survey Level 2 (survey costs around £400-£500) is suitable for conventional properties in reasonable condition, while a Building Survey (survey costs £500-£1200) is more in-depth and better for older or altered buildings. These surveys can uncover hidden defects, structural issues, and other potential risks that could affect your insurance premiums.

By sharing the findings of your house survey with your insurer, you can make sure that your policy accurately reflects the condition of your property and that you have the right level of cover in place.

Can House Surveys Help Me Assess Insurance Risks

What Impact Do Mortgage Valuations Have on Home Insurance?

When you apply for a mortgage, your lender will carry out a mortgage valuation to assess the property’s value and condition. While this valuation is primarily for the lender’s benefit, it can also give useful information for your home insurance.

If the valuation highlights any issues with the property, such as structural problems or non-standard construction, your insurer may need more information or even a specialist survey before offering cover. In some cases, they may recommend additional measures to reduce potential risks, such as upgrading outdated wiring or plumbing systems.

Should I Work with Insurance Specialists for My Older Property?

If your home is listed, thatched, or built with non-standard materials, it’s important to work with insurers who specialise in cover for period and non-standard homes. These properties can be more challenging and expensive to insure due to the unique risks they present.

Specialist insurers have the expertise and experience to accurately assess the rebuild cost of your home and offer tailored cover that meets your specific needs. They can also give advice on risk management and home maintenance to help you protect your property and potentially reduce your insurance costs over time.

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How Can Home Maintenance Help Me Manage Insurance Risks?

Regular home maintenance is crucial for keeping your property in good condition and managing potential insurance risks. This is particularly important for older homes, which may be more prone to issues like damp, structural movement, or timber decay.

Some key maintenance tasks to consider include:

  • Regularly inspecting and clearing gutters and drains to prevent water damage
  • Promptly repairing any damage to the roof, brickwork, or timber frames
  • Updating old or faulty wiring and plumbing systems to meet current safety standards
  • Treating and maintaining timber elements to prevent decay or infestation

By staying on top of these tasks and keeping your home in good repair, you can help reduce potential risks and show insurers that your property is well-maintained. This could potentially lead to lower insurance premiums and a smoother claims process if you ever need to make a claim.

How Can a Local Surveyor Help Me Understand My Property’s Value?

A local surveyor can be a valuable resource when it comes to understanding the value of the property, inspection of a property and its impact on your home insurance. They can conduct a detailed inspection of the property, taking into account factors like its age, condition, and any unique features or period details.

During the inspection, the surveyor will assess the property’s structure, including the foundation, walls, roof, and floorboards, as well as any potential issues like damp, subsidence, or timber decay. They’ll also consider the type of house survey that’s most appropriate for your property, based on its age and condition.

How Can a Local Surveyor Help Me Understand My Property’s Value

What Should I Know About Leasehold Properties and Home Insurance?

If you’re buying a leasehold property, there are some additional factors to consider when it comes to home insurance. With a leasehold, you own the property for a fixed period of time, but not the land it sits on. This means that the freeholder (the owner of the land) is responsible for insuring the building itself, while you’ll need to arrange contents insurance for your personal belongings.

It’s important to check the terms of your lease carefully and understand what your responsibilities are as a leaseholder. You may need to contribute to the cost of the building insurance through your service charge, so it’s worth factoring this into your budget.

How Can I Work with My Mortgage Lender to Ensure Adequate Insurance Cover?

When you’re taking out a mortgage to buy a property, your mortgage lender will have an interest in ensuring that the property is adequately insured. After all, if something happens to the property, it could affect their investment as well as yours.

As part of the mortgage application process, your lender will typically require you to arrange buildings insurance to cover the cost of rebuilding the property if it’s damaged or destroyed. They may also specify certain requirements for the insurance policy, such as the level of cover needed or the types of risks that must be included.

To ensure that you have the right insurance in place, it’s important to work closely with your mortgage lender and keep them informed about any changes to the property or your circumstances. If you’re unsure about anything, don’t hesitate to ask for further information or guidance.

By understanding your lender’s requirements and arranging adequate insurance cover, you can protect your investment and give yourself peace of mind as a homeowner.

When it comes to insuring your home, the age and condition of the property are key factors to consider. Whether you’re a current owner looking to renew your policy or a prospective buyer weighing up your options, understanding your property’s history and any potential risks is essential.

By working with a local surveyor, seeking advice from organisations like the Homeowners Alliance, and keeping your mortgage lender informed, you can navigate the process with confidence and ensure that you have the right cover in place for your unique property. Remember, a little bit of research and preparation now can save you a lot of stress and expense down the line.

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FAQs: About House Age and Home Insurance

What if I live in a listed building?

Listed properties often need specialist home insurance because of their unique features and building materials. This cover tends to cost more than standard policies.

How do I insure a home with historical significance?

If your house has historical value, like being the former home of someone important, you might need specialist cover. Insurers with experience in heritage properties can give you the right protection.

Will my premiums be higher if my house has non-standard construction?

Homes built with non-standard materials or methods, like a thatched roof or timber frame, usually cost more to insure. This is because they’re seen as higher risk and more expensive to repair.

Does my home’s age affect its rebuild cost?

Yes, your property’s age can impact the rebuild cost. Older homes might need specialist tradespeople and materials to reconstruct them properly, which can push up the price.

What should I do if I can’t find any records of my house’s age?

If you’ve tried everything and still can’t pin down the exact build date, give your insurer your best guess based on the property’s style and features. Be open about the situation so they can give you the right advice.

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