We’re the marketing team for an insurance brand, so when we challenged ourselves to find out when any given UK home was built (if you don’t already know), it seemed a somewhat straightforward challenge. We, like all insurance brands ask shoppers and prospective policy owners for the date their home was fabricated when they ask for one of our Home Insurance quotes. Granted, most of the time, an estimate is sometimes all that is required- but it got us thinking, how do you find out for certain? It seemed rational that this information would be easily accessible in the modern information economy?
You’re probably thinking property deed? Or if you rent - the landlord? We wish you good luck, go and find out and let us know!
Of course, the simplest sounding task is often the most difficult. Our first port-of-call was with the Land Registry, where a helpful lady happily informed us that the only files held by them, record the date a property is registered. This does not conclude necessarily, that it is the same year the building was constructed. Before long it transpired that such historical records are harder to come by than we had initially presumed. One could head to check a census, if you can discover a census where the property is not registered; you have a 10 year time bracket to close your estimation. However, we were advised to contact The National Archives or the local council who may be able to assist us further.
Seeing as the rented 1980’s ex-council flat we choose as a case study is (arguably) of no particular interest architecturally, The National Archives politely recommended that we had best speak to the local council next. By now the search had taken over an hour, and we’re still non-the-wiser regarding a universal “game plan” of how to get a date for when a given home was built.
In due course the council were able to assist, and once again we were re-directed to the Districts History Library, who had closed for Monday trading. Twenty-four hours later and with perseverance renewed we were greeted with the same “out of office” answer machine message from the previous day. After a point, we had to give up, because after all - you only really need an estimate and no one has enough time to chase for an estimate that isn’t mandatory. This shows that the little questions we use to produce quotes can sometimes be awkward for shoppers if there aren’t provisions in society to help them.
The moral of the story is, don’t worry, an estimate of build date is fine, but if you are looking for the exact date- hopefully our experience helps cut your search time down!
We still can’t help thinking - how often are your estimates inaccurate and cost you the consumer money?
Looking for the date your house was built for a home insurance quote?
• Your property title deed for its registration date
• The Land Registry
• Census – District History Library
• Local Council Helpline
• Your landlord
• The National Archives (if you think your house is of architectural significance)
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Based in Lewes, East Sussex Berkeley Alexander is part of one of the biggest insurance brokers in the UK, authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority
Editor’s Note: Please direct all press queries to Sian Thomas. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7960 5100