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What effect does building work have on my home Insurance?

Buying a home could be the most expensive purchase that you’ll ever make. Which is why it’s so important to protect it with home insurance inside and out.

Home improvements can have a great impact by enhancing your home, but are also likely to impact your home insurance policy, during the construction work and after the job is done. 

From plumbing work, kitchen remodels and even security, all could cause you to make a claim at some stage. So it’s important to get suitable quotes for renovations insurance.

Different types of of home insurance

You might already have one or two types of insurance that already protects your home.

Buildings insurance

Buildings insurance covers the structure of the property. The outside details, like the walls, roof. If there were a fire, flood or structural damage this insurance would cover the rebuilding of your home, and can include materials and labour. But it’s important to note it doesn’t cover the land.

Contents insurance

Contents insurance covers the contents within the home, such as electronics, clothes and furniture. You can add additional cover, which can include items like, gadgets and bikes either home or away.

What does renovations insurance cover?

Renovations insurance insurance, can cover your home or property from the planning stage, all the way through your building work. Think knocking down walls, plumbing work and reflooring. Also having multiple people in and out of the property could cause a security issue.

It can include:

The building/structure

This will protect your property should there be an accident that occurs like a fire, flood or theft. 

Property owners’ liability insurance

This will cover you should a claim be made against you concerning your property. Such as somebody being injured whilst at your property, or as a result of your property. In some cases this could be up to £2 million.

Unoccupied home insurance 

Whilst a house is being renovated it’s possible that it will remain vacant for the period of time that is being worked on. For this reason you may need unoccupied insurance

This will provide you with cover and protection for the time that it remains vacant. 

Subsidence

Your insurance might also cover for subsidence. This is when the ground of your home shifts or sinks as the result of a number of situations, such as moisture changes in the ground or leaks beneath your property.

You might be made aware that subsidence has occurred by cracks appearing on the walls of your home. 

Your cover should also cover for the outside features, like fences and sheds. 

Heave and landslip should also be considerations:

  • Heave causes your property to move up rather than down, usually the result of it becoming waterlogged. 

  • Landslip causes the land underneath the property to move as a result of erosion, or being on a slope. 

Do I need to notify my insurer before I start building work?

If you’re carrying out any major works on your property then it’s important to let your insurer know as soon as possible. This would be best when you’re actually planning the work, to know what you’re covered for, and to have the chance to add on any necessary cover.

If any plans do change along the way, it’s also important to keep your insurer up to date. If anything goes wrong and you have to make a claim without them knowing about the work, this could make your claim void.

If you’re having builders do the work, it’s worth checking what type of insurance they have also. 

Does building work impact my contents insurance?

When planning your renovation, it’s likely that this will include updating or increasing the contents in your home. For this reason you’ll need to let your insurance company know to make sure you still have the right cover for your possessions. 

The renovations might also have affected your security fittings and door looks. If you have made improvements in these areas, then it's possible that you’ll get a better quote than before. 

Is DIY covered as standard on my home insurance policy?

Don’t make the assumption that you’ll be covered for any work that you carry out. Some policies could include exclusions that you apply to your building or content insurance. 

Check your terms and conditions to make sure that you are, otherwise call your insurers just to double check. 

A basic cover for building insurance will normally include bricks and mortar, as well as permanent fixtures and fittings, such as bathroom and kitchen units. You’ll find that some buildings insurance policies will cover you for accidental damage as a standard feature of their policy. 

Standard home insurance policies that don’t have accidental damage cover included aren’t likely to cover you for damage caused by DIY accidents.

Don’t try to do any major works yourself, as this won’t be covered by insurance. For work like electrics and plumbing, always seek professional help, otherwise you could invalidate your insurance policy.

Uswitch top tips

  • Inform your insurer about any major works at the planning stage

  • Look into whether you need planning permission to start your work

  • Check whether your builder has insurance  for any damage they may cause

  • Don’t try to attempt major renovations on your own, seek professional help

  • Get references for any builders/professionals you plan to hire

  • Set a budget and then get quotes for the work you have in mind

  • Does your work meet the necessary building regulations? You'll need proof of this if you plan to sell

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