Advantage AHCI’s guide to retrospective insurance


If you’re looking to sell a property which has been built in the last 10 years but has no structural defects warranty, you’re going to be all out of luck. Lenders don’t grant mortgages to prospective buyers if a property doesn’t have this type of insurance policy in place

This is where retrospective structural defects insurance (SDI) comes in – insurance which protects the buyer from liability from pre-existing structural issues.

In this guide, Advantage (AHCI) will be walking you through what retrospective SDI means for you and your home, and how you can go about obtaining a warranty for yourself.

So, what exactly is retrospective structural defects insurance?

Retrospective structural defects insurance was specifically created to guarantee that vendors in the aforementioned position can sell their properties easily and efficiently. Prior to the insurance being issued, a full structural survey has to be undertaken so that existing problems can either be corrected or excluded from the policy. Works which were undertaken before your policy started, however, will be covered by retrospective insurance – it extends cover back to a specified date, known as the “retroactive/retrospective date”. The date will be noted on your schedule should you need to claim on it.

This is the great thing about retrospective structural defects warranty – you’re covered even if you didn’t have insurance back when you probably (read: definitely) should have.

What does retrospective structural defects insurance cover?

Unfortunately, it’s not quite like going back in time and fixing every little mistake in your property before it happened. In general, coverage for these policies is quite limited, as the insurance is mainly for serious defects in your home such as rain infiltration, drain issues, subsidence or similar. More low-level problems like ill-fitting doors or creaky floorboards aren’t generally included.

Certain items, like superficial roof damage and double-glazing issues, are optional where coverage is concerned – so as with any insurance policy, always make sure you’re reading the fine print. The more things you want to include in the policy, the more costly it will be.

Retrospective structural defects warranties are completely transferrable to any new owners of the property over a 10-year period, as the certificate is attached to the home rather than the person who takes out the insurance.

How can you get a retrospective structural defects warranty?

There are a number of steps you need to take before securing retrospective insurance cover:

  • Contact a structural defects warranty specialist such as Advantage, and request a completed housing quote
  • Review the quotation provided
  • Pay applicable survey fees and deposit premium
  • Have a full plan/specification check and subsequent survey undertaken (existing defects will be noted and either corrected or excluded from cover).

Following completion of all of the above, your retrospective policy will be issued. Advantage’s dedicated expert team will guide you through each stage of the process, ensuring you have a thorough understanding of your policy and are issued it in a hassle-free, speedy manner.


Many properties are built without structural defects insurance in place, often by self-builders. That’s why ensuring that you have it from the get-go is absolutely vital.

Recently, a string of insurance companies went bust, leaving thousands of homeowners uninsured and at risk. These firms offered homeowners and developers policies purchased via brokers, meaning that many people were unaware for some time that their warranties were void. Many holders had to take out fresh insurance, an unwelcome and unexpected blow.

All of Advantage’s insurers are property sector-experienced carriers, ensuring customers are offered the best protection possible.

David Sumner, Sales Director at AHCI, commented: “As experienced property developers ourselves, we know it is critical to provide the highest standard of building warranties to give customers the peace of mind that any structural faults or defects are covered.

“Unfortunately, the quality of cover provided differs widely in the industry and often homeowners have no idea who their policies are placed with or the ratings of the carrier.”

AHCI can offer warranties on developments with a value of up to £100m, so whatever your requirement is, we’ll be able to help. We’re underwritten by AA-rated, industry-leading insurers, so you can rest assured you’re in safe hands.

To find out more about Advantage’s structural defects insurance, including their retrospective structural defects warranties, visit their website or speak to one of their dedicated team on 0845 900 3969.


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