Here’s what you need to know...

From Elizabethan mansions to Victorian back-to-backs, wartime air raid shelters to converted lighthouses, the range of historic properties which people call ‘home’ is as diverse as Britain’s history itself.

Listed buildings with special architectural or historical interest provide a stunning and proudly cherished heritage for us – but they can also bring demanding responsibilities, both financial and cultural, for those who live in them.

There are over 374,000 recognised listed buildings, divided into three categories – Grade I, II* and II. If your home is recognised as listed by English Heritage, it is most likely that it will be Grade II (92% of listed buildings are).

Many of those who are aware of their building’s historical status will invest large amounts of time and money preserving their homes on a day-to-day basis. However, on the small chance you’re listed but don’t know it, you may be unwittingly putting your home’s long-term future at risk – making prohibited changes, or not adequately protecting yourself against the costs of rebuilding your property if any major damage or accidents occurred.

For homeowners living in listed buildings, there are even more limitations than for regular properties in the changes that you can make to your home, as it has extra legal protection within the planning permission system to protect it. If you’re intending to do work on your house you should apply for ‘Listed Building Consent’ for any alterations that you wish to make.

Listed buildings are far more likely to be under-insured as many are likely to have outbuildings, boundary walls and upgraded kitchens which very often are not taken into account by owners when assessing buildings sums insured. Use the ABI's Rebuild Cost Calculator to gauge whether your existing policy will cover the cost of rebuilding your house, garden walls and outbuildings.

You must also bear in mind that listed buildings have greater risk of major incidents – many feature plumbing, electrics or old construction techniques that are not suited to modern day wear and tear. Should the worst happen and damage be caused, English Heritage require you to make “like-for-like” repairs – using both traditional materials and traditional methods, which can be very specialised indeed! For that reason it is vitally important that if you own a listed building, you have sought opinion and support to secure a tailored and realistic estimate of the potential cost of rebuilding (including any potential VAT liabilities) and have your home insured against it.