Why are non-standard construction homes a problem for mortgage lenders and insurers?

Non-standard construction properties are those that aren’t built with brick or stone walls, and with tile or slate roofs. So the non-standard definition includes thatched houses, pre-fab (both post war and modern designs), timber framed houses and wood built houses.

Clearly some types of non-standard construction houses are a greater risk – for example thatched houses are more likely to burn down – but more modern designs aren’t obviously more risky. So why the problem?

Mortgage lenders and insurers have concerns about non-standard construction properties because they may need a lot of costly maintenance, and it is difficult to know if this is being carried out, and how well. So it is difficult to assess the cost of repairing potential damage. This is an obvious concern for insurers, who are providing cover for repairs.

But it is also a concern for mortgage lenders. Should the borrower stop paying their mortgage and the lender has to repossess the house, non-standard construction houses may need expensive repairs before they can be sold. They also may be more difficult to sell because many house buyers avoid non-standard construction properties, knowing about the need for more maintenance than standard properties. Mortgage lenders worry they may not get back the value of the loan if they have to repossess.

When looking for insurance for a non-standard construction property it is important to get quotes from insurers that want to cover specialist risks, like the insurers available through PolicyCastle.


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