BISF Insurance Renewals – Comparison Search Results – Archive Post

BISF Insurance Renewals - Comparison Search Results - Archive Post 1

This is an archive post dated 2011. Therefore the values provided, may no longer be accurate.

Non-Standard House continue to receive reports regarding rising building insurance costs and inflated quotes for BISF properties..

Whilst we are aware that household insurance costs are rising in throughout the UK,  we have been astonished to hear that some insurance companies have been subjecting BISF home owners to seriously some roof raising price increases.

We decided to conduct our own research into building renewal quotes using the price comparison service Go Compare. It should be noted that when using any price comparison site, the quote given is NOT necessarily final, until you have supplied all details that the insuring body requires.

For our research, we chose to insure a BISF House in Birmingham with an estimated resale value of £180.000 & a re-build value of £151.000.

Our fictitious homeowner is a Full Time Retail Sales Assistant. The property is in good condition and has central heating together with 5 lever mortice locks fitted to front and rear doors. The property also has a garage / outbuilding and the owner has no previous claims in the last 9 years. The area is in a neighbourhood watch area but no alarm is fitted. No voluntary excess has been selected.

More importantly the below quote is for a pre-fabricated non combustible house with a steel tile roof. (Not Corrugated Asbestos Sheeting).

Below you will see the cheapest 7 quotes based on the information we supplied.

Insurance Comparison

We then conducted the exact same search, changing only the roof construction type from Tile to Asbestos sheeting.

There was a considerable difference in the prices quoted. 

From £122.66 offered by Swintons (Its4me), for our tiled roof property compared to £211.95 now offered by Broker King for the Asbestos roofed property. A price difference of over £89.00! 

Even more staggering was the highest quote of £483.71, which was offered by Kwik Fit insurance, with an added policy excess of £200!.

Not to be put off, we conducted the exact same search via Compare The and found the lowest quote for a BISF Asbestos roofed property to be £149.72 offered by Autonet Home Insurance. (beware opting to pay via instalments added an extra £15.00 to the price quoted.

Insurance Comparison
Compison 2 insurance

We then conducted the exact same search but this time we stated that the property was of traditional brick & mortar construction, with a clay tile roof. The quotes received were were substantially lower when compared to our  fictitious asbestos roofed BISF property, but only around £27.00 cheaper than our BISF property, with a tiled roof.

Insurance comparison 3


During this comparison, we found that the quotes supplied for a prefabricated house with a Tiled Roof‘ were indeed more expensive than their traditional brick counterparts but the price gap was surprisingly less than we had anticipated. Taking the lowest quote from Budget into consideration there was a price disparity of approximately £30, which on the surface ,shows only a minor perceived liability from those insurers who were prepared to insure properties of non-standard construction.

Prefabricated properties with a ‘Asbestos Roof‘ were considerably more expensive to insure, possibly due to a higher perceived element of risk for the underwrites. Risk, is of course, the driving force behind any insurance companies quotation and corrugated asbestos roofing does indeed have inherent risk issues, simply due to the nature and age of the material.

What we were not prepared for in our first test was the further 6 pages of search results from GoCompare, listing companies who state that they do not insure, pre-fabricated non combustible properties

Even more surprising was the fact that when searching for providers willing to insure the asbestos roofed property, only 13 companies provided a quote. 

As always, it appears that shopping around is the best option, but we stress that you should check and double check all quotes received to ensure you are fully covered. Do you own research and always telephone the insurer to confirm that they understand the property is a Pre-Fabricated, Non Combustible Property. 

We have heard of cases where the insure has stated that they are aware of the construction type, yet the customer has received policy documents that wrongly classified the building as being of Traditional Brick construction.

It is up to you to check your construction type is correct. Not doing so could render your insurance void in the event of a claim.


When requesting a quote from comparison sites. the majority of people fail to enter the correct re-build cost for their property. The re-build cost is not the same as the current sales value and is often considerably lower. Many assume the opposite and enter a re-build value that is much higher than the current market value of the house. This will only increase your premiums!

You can obtain a rough re-build value through the BCIS The Building Cost Information Service.

It is a free service with a very simple registration process and could well help you save on your insurance costs.

We list below the some of the insurance companies who state, according to GoCompare, that they do not insure Pre-fabricated buildings, as this information may be of benefit to some.

Insurance brands

Please share with us any of your own insurance experiences below or via our new forum. You will find a link at the top of the page.

home insurance brands 2


  1. I moved into a BISF house in Somerset just a week ago. I’ve spent much of today missing from work so that I could try and find an affordable insurance quote, and I haven’t managed it so far.

    In brief (* these all resulted from telephone calls):
    Post Office = none of their ten brokers will cover the house*
    Santander = £378.97*
    NFU = £355.98*
    More>Than = construction type not covered
    Prudential = construction type not covered*

    So far I’m still uninsured, and uninsurable unless it’s going to be around £130 over my expected budget. Ouch.

    1. Hi and welcome Pete, I’m in Bath and took out building and contents insurance with Halifax at the same time as getting a mortgage with them in Dec 2011. It is £28 per month for a house price of £125 000 and rebuild cost of £105 000 (from memory) and a mid level of contents insurance. This thread has got me thinking about whether I could get a better deal elsewhere!

      Logically a steel roof should be less problematic than a tile one as it’s less likely to leak and probably cheaper to replace so I think insurance companies are just refusing to deal with something a bit unusual or think they can charge extra for it.

  2. Towergate refused to insure my house only because roof is made of Corrugated Metal.

    I do not understand why? I found companies advertising corrugated metal roof sheats. I am confused.

  3. Hi,

    Just jumping through hoops now to get my buildings and contents insurance;

    Area – TW17
    Rebuild cost – £140,000
    Property Built – 1946

    Churchill – £432
    Tesco – £385
    Woolwhich – My mortgage lender will not insure the house!

    Not found anyone else that will cover yet so I will try the ones above. Thanks for the tip.

    1. hi tanya
      I just had the same problem over the last few days looking for building insurance. I have now insured with kwik fit. might be worth a try .

  4. Hi again, after trying about 6 different insurance companies (direct and brokers, including Fresh, Towergate and Quote Your Home / I’ve finally managed to get ONE quote – from Fresh – for landlord’s buildings insurance. It was for £274; I’d expect to pay around £150 for a similar conventionally-built house. A couple of others (inc. Towergate) said they’d insure if the roof had been replaced, but wouldn’t offer cover with the original roof still in situ.

    Incidentally, Denton and anyone else on the Sheldon estate may be interested to know that these houses were built around 1952-4 ( I found this out from a neighbour). I thought they only built BISF houses between 1945 and 1950, but apparently not! I wonder if the materials shortages might have lessened by then, hence the proper plasterboard used upstairs in Denton’s house.

    1. Hello Lynne
      So glad that you managed to get your landlord insurance.
      As you say a typical private homeowner insurance would be around half that amount but having little experience in the landlord insurance area it is hard to make a compariosn.
      Saying that, at least your cover is now in place.

      Thank you for the information regarding Towergate. They appear to be another one to add to the ‘we don’t do asbestos roofs’ list.

      Your neighbours comments are very interesting as BISF houses were built during a 6 year production period give or take a few months.
      I would have expected 1951 to have been the latest year of manufacture but I’m sure that some of the original building projects could well have continued past this date depending surplus stock of BISF frames etc.

      It might be worth digging deeper into the Sheldon history regarding this.

      I will see what I can find.

      Marc :)

      1. Thanks admin. I haven’t actually bought the house yet, just put an offer in today (pretty low, reflecting the issues with finance & insurance). I may well get outbid, but at least I was able to demonstrate the knowledge to justify my low offer!

        We do have other buy-to-lets of conventional build and, after shopping around, typically pay around £130 – £170 for insurance on those.

        The neighbours I was speaking to said they’d been the first in their house when the street was built, and that before they got married they (or, presumably, one of them) had lived in another one round the corner, from when that was built in 1952. It’s quite a big estate, must be 2-300 houses I guess, so I suppose it could have taken 2 or 3 years for all the houses to go up.

  5. Does anyone have experience of getting landlord’s buildings insurance for a BISF house? I’ve got a viewing next week, of a potential buy-to-let. Our usual broker (cia) said they couldn’t offer cover for non-standard construction at all; I’ve got another broker looking into it now and will post again when they come back to me.

    Also, on the rebuild cost, the estimator on the BCIS site doesn’t seem to cater for non-standard builds; can anyone give me an indication of rebuild cost for a straightforward BSIF house with garage in B26? (House still has original roof & wall finishes – not sure how much difference external coatings would make?) I guessed £100K but really had no idea.

    1. Hello Lynne
      I can understand your frustration here as buy to let insurance is slightly more specialist than typical home owner insurance.
      I am aware of several properties that are being let in my local vicinity but at this time I am not aware of which company is supplying the cover.
      It may well be worth you trying Santander and Halifax insurance services if you haven’t already.

      As for re-build costs I have noticed a pretty large increases in sugested values recently. The BCIS calculator deems rendered walls to be the same as brick in costings, so that covers the bottom half of the property yet specialist help is suggested for other features of construction.

      Either way calculating a re-build in brick is likely to be pretty close due to the fact that if the property ever needed a total re-build it would most likely be re-constructed out of brick and possibly incorporate a steel frame if the adjoining property remained intact. A specialist builder may be able to re-build a similar structure but this would likely cost more.

      The best way to obtain an accurate cost would be to employ a surveyor. However you must ensure that the surveyor has experience with BISF construction as many do not and the valuation can be innacurate. This would cost around £200.

      Based on your postcode the BCIS results are as follows.

      Rebuild Calculator Results

      Estimate of Rebuilding Cost from BCIS.

      The rebuilding cost is estimated to be £224,000 based on the information and assumptions listed below (1).

      Quality and facilities make a big difference to the rebuilding cost. While the figure above is a reasonable estimate of the likely cost for a good quality house with typical facilities, a basic quality house of the same size with minimal facilities might be rebuilt for £192,000 while an excellent quality house might cost £278,000 to rebuild.

      The information we based this estimate on was:
      Semi-detached 2 storey house built with brick external walls (2) and slate roof built around 1945 (3). The property is not listed and does not include any special or unusual features.
      Postcode B26.
      Gross external floor area: 163m2 (4).
      1 bathrooms.
      1 garage spaces.

      BCIS has assumed the following:
      There is no cellar.
      An allowance for external works has been made which might typically comprise drive or hardstanding, paths and patio, walls and fences, drainage. However there can be big differences in the scale and cost. Special or unusual features, such as long boundary walls, swimming pools etc have not been allowed for.

      The prices used are for March 2012. This report was generated at 14:14:06 on 28-Apr-2012.

      (1) This estimate is based on minimal details. If you have a listed property or one with special or unusual features you should obtain professional advice on the rebuilding cost. You may also wish to obtain professional advice to be more certain about the rebuilding cost. A list of chartered surveyors in your area capable of carrying out a rebuilding cost assessment can be found at

      (2) Brick external walls include brick faced timber framed houses and cement rendered walls.

      (3) It is assumed that the property is built in a style typical of its age.

      (4) The Gross External Floor Area is the area of all floors added together measured from the outside.

      BCIS is the Building Cost Information Service of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. For further details please visit

      If you are really stuck I would suggest contacting Steve Downes of Hintons & Downes Estate Agents In Middlesex. He has a great deal of experience with BISF properties and residential lettings. He also has excellent knowledge of current insurance criteria.

      You can contact him on 020 8861 1066

      I hope this helps a little.



      1. My valuation report gave a rebuild cost of £115 000, which was what the insurance people used. I have no idea what that would cover as I would imagine it would be difficult to rebuild a BISF house from scratch as the components are no-longer made, so they would probably build something of equivalent size but not with a steel frame.

        I don’t know how this varies from one part of the country to another.

      2. Thanks for your replies. £224K – good grief! I was hoping to pay about a quarter of that for the house, and nobody in their right mind would pay over £150K for a 3-bed house in that area. Ed’s £115K sounds a lot more realistic to me, and I agree, it’d be daft to use non-standard construction if you had the option to replace it with something that lenders and insurers wouldn’t frown upon!

        Of the four insurers listed on (which I’ve just found) as being happy to insure BISF houses, Kwik Fit doesn’t do landlord cover AFAIK, and I can’t find a website for Quote Your Home so will have to try them on the phone. Towergate and Fresh wouldn’t give me online quotes but maybe they’ll offer cover when I speak to a real person. We have other (standard construction) properties insured with Towergate so I know they offer a good policy.

    2. Just another thought, but I think a BISF house especially in its original form is a little more prone to damage caused by abuse/carelessness. It shouldn’t be a problem with normal use, but I guess if you have tenants who are not so careful the things like the harboard-covered upstairs walls could be damaged more easily than the walls of a normal house and also the rendering of the downstairs walls outside can be damaged by heavy impact.

  6. Hi Marc

    Well the builders have been on and off and the property is vacant so I think that increases it. I spoke to loads of brokers at the time and they all came out the same. Fingers crossed I can get a new quote once the work is complete!! :)

  7. Hi Alex
    £600 is a very expensive premium for any house. I understand that the premium is raised if you have workmen in due to the increased risk of damage.
    Most insurance companies stiplulate this but surely you haven’t have workmen in for most of the year have you?

    I know that in certain circumstances accidental damage cover whilst workmen are present can also raise the premium.

    Have you tried discussing your quote with your broker to discuss any way of bringing the cost down?


  8. I’m really shocked by this – my insurance is rediculous – its nearly £600 a year. I spent lots of time getting quotes and this was the cheapest. My house was only valued and £70k but my rebuild was in fact more than this because the house needs work doing to it. Also as there are renovation works going on I had to declare this and this also increased the premiums. I am hoping that once the works are complete the cost will be reduced.

    As you stated – I would be really careful and I would ring the insurance companies. I would not rely on online sites as I tried these but when I rung to check many of the companies refused to insure my BISF home.