If you're thinking about renovating your home then you'll want to make sure you have renovation cover. But what is it and how does it work? Luckily we've put together a quick guide to keep you in the loop.
Do I need home renovation insurance?
If you’re thinking about making some changes to your property that goes beyond a lick of paint or a new-look kitchen, then it’s essential you have some form of home renovation insurance. Most standard home insurance policies won’t cover you in the event of accidents arising from major home renovations, especially if you’re doing them yourself as an untrained labourer.
Home renovation insurance is not necessary for cosmetic alterations in the home, but if you’re considering any of the following activities, it’s worth thinking about:
- Alterations to the building’s structure, eg. Removal of a load bearing wall for an extension
- Major structural changes, eg. plumbing & drainage or roofing
- Cellar, loft or garage conversions
Check with your current policy to see what sort of activity is currently protected, and in the likely event that you need further buildings insurance you can use our handy comparison tool to see what the best options available to you are. You can easily contact your current provider to see what services they can offer you.
How do home renovations affect insurance?
One of the main reasons you need home renovation insurance is because any major structural alterations to your property may be considered an upgrade. In this event, the rebuild cost of your house (that is, how much your insurer would have to pay in the event of a claim) will be higher than before. This can then affect your premiums, and failure to notify your insurer may result in your claim becoming invalid.
That’s why major renovations are not usually covered under a typical home insurance policy, and why you should seek out additional home renovation cover.
Do I have to tell my insurer that I’m doing work on my home?
It’s essential you contact your current provider about home renovations insurance if you’re planning major work on your property, for example extensions and conversions. If you don’t, it’s likely your current policy will become invalid.
Any number of things can happen whilst renovating your home, for example a thief breaking in through an empty window hole and stealing expensive builder’s equipment. More than that, a major renovation is likely to increase the value of your property, which is something the insurer really needs to know.
Exactly what info you need to pass on is likely to vary between providers, but you can be certain you’ll need to notify them on:
- The planned duration of the renovations
- The total cost
- If you will stay in the property or vacate for a time
- Details of your builder, and whether they have public liabilities insurance
What is covered by home renovation insurance?
The precise details will differ between providers, but here are some of the more standard eventualities covered under home renovation insurance policies:
- Theft of building materials and equipment, when left on site
- Damage or loss of personal belongings either at home or in storage
- Damage to the property’s existing structure
- Alternative accommodation in the event of complex and long-lasting damage
- Public liability cover in the event of third-party injury during building work
- Personal accident cover
- Legal expenses cover
- Unoccupied property insurance (for absences of 30+ days)
- Accidental damage, such as carpet stains or broken windows
Will I need accidental damage cover?
Some policies will include accidental damage cover as part of your home renovation insurance package, but not always. It’s worth contacting your provider to make sure. It’s pretty common that a floor becomes scratched, a fixed appliance is broken or your favourite chair becomes ruined. You should plan for all eventualities and make sure you’re protected against accidental damage.
Am I covered if I complete the renovations myself?
If you’re doing a small weekend DIY project like installing a new kitchen cabinet or putting up a shelf, you needn’t bore your insurance company with the details. You will be covered by a standard home insurance policy in the event of a small accident.
During the DIY if you accidentally drill through a water pipe and start flooding your house, you should be protected under accidental damage insurance. This is not always included in standard home insurance policies, so check with your provider or find a new home insurance deal with our comparison tool.
If you’re feeling big and strong and you want to smash down a load bearing wall to make way for a new kitchen, then you will probably encounter problems. Any major renovation work that you complete without the appropriate training and experience is not going to be covered by your provider.