Swapping vacations for renovations? How to get the right insurance to protect your property

Over the past year, you may have found yourself swapping vacations for renovations as the pandemic saw us postpone holidays and redirect savings into improving our homes.

While renovating your home is a great way to add value and enhance your quality of life, it’s essential to make sure you have the right house insurance in place to accommodate ongoing works and structural changes.

Read on to find out what you need to know about house insurance if you’re in the middle of – or planning – home improvements.

Why do I need to think about house insurance during a renovation?

You may invalidate your house insurance if you haven’t informed your insurers or got the right policy in place before beginning a home renovation project.

If you’re taking on a renovation project, you’re likely to need a specialist renovation insurance policy to cover your home during this period.

What kind of renovations can affect my house insurance?

Standard house insurance policies don’t tend to provide cover for ongoing works or protect your property during a renovation if you are carrying out significant projects like extensions, structural work, loft conversions or basement renovations.

If you’re in the midst of a project of this kind or planning to embark on one in the future, it’s essential to revisit your home insurance policy to see if it will provide cover during and post-renovation.

For example, if there is a fire and you lose your entire house, there will be no cover, and your policy may be invalid if a renovation was in process.

Why might my home insurance policy not provide cover during renovations?

You may think your building company will have its own insurance in place, so you don’t need any. However, your builder would only have insurance in respect of liability. So, to claim from this, you would need to prove negligence on their part.

Any other damage from everyday life, like storm, theft, vandalism or escape of water would not be insured during a home renovation.

How can I change my house insurance to protect my home during a renovation?

A specialist renovation insurance policy will cover your home against the risk of any ongoing works.

Taking out a specialist insurance policy during renovation projects is vital for several reasons, including:

  • It covers the property during a renovation
  • It will pay out regardless of whose fault it was, preventing arguments with your contractor
  • It puts your mind at rest that should something happen, you have cover in place – not only for the house but also the money you have spent so far on the renovation
  • You can cover your contents in an outbuilding or caravan if you’re living on-site at the same time
  • You can be covered for the work you are doing yourself as a self-builder.

How can specialist home renovation insurance policies protect my home?

The types of specialist renovation home insurance cover vary from a standard policy covering basic perils only to a fully inclusive policy covering accidental damage.

You pay for the cover you need and not for a generic scheme with little benefit.

You can have cover for the main home as well as the works being carried out. Alternatively, you can simply insure the works if your house insurers agree to maintain cover on your main structure whilst the works are going on. If you use a specialist house insurer, they will give you this option.

With the right policy, you can cover materials being stored on-site, like kitchen and bathroom units waiting to be fitted, roof trusses, tiles, bricks, and windows. This will mean they don’t have to be locked away and can be in the open on the site as needed.

Many policies include liability cover with the option to extend cover to neighbouring properties – this can be useful for terraced or semi-detached properties, where there’s a risk of accidents affecting an attached property.

When taking out a specialist renovation house insurance policy, you can include add-ons to cover hand tools, hired in plant, EL cover, caravan or site huts, personal contents or contract works cover for JCT contracts. All of this will depend on the type of renovation policy you take out, so it’s essential to understand your options and protect against the specifics of your situation.

Specialist renovation policies cover the following home improvement projects:

  • Extensions
  • Conversions
  • New builds
  • Restorations
  • Self builds
  • Basement extensions
  • Unoccupied and occupied properties
  • Barn conversions
  • Churches
  • Commercial into residential
  • HMO conversions

 

Self-builds will cover you as the property owner doing the works yourself for accidental damage cover. However, any significant works would have to be done by a specialist for your policy to continue to be valid.

What are the specific kinds of specialist renovation insurance covers available?

  • Standard package – FLEA cover – this protects against fire, lightning, explosion, earthquakes and impact by aircraft
  • Premier package – this covers against fire, lightning, explosion, earthquakes, aircraft, storms, escape of water, impact, riot, theft and liability. You can also add on protection for contents, your own construction machinery, portable hand or power tool, hired in plant, caravans and or site huts
  • Premier Plus – this extends cover to include accidental damage and subsidence and can also add the neighbour’s liability, known as non-negligent cover, as well as JCT liability, loss of rent, interest and terrorism

 

Premiums start at £150.

For advice on any of the covers or to discuss your options, please contact our house insurance expert Caroline on 01282 686904 or email caroline@financialaffairs.co.uk

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