Do Home Renovations Affect Your Home Insurance Policy?

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Do Home Renovations Affect Your Home Insurance Policy?

Renovating your home can be a cost-effective decision as opposed to moving, but it can come with added stress and pressure with the risk that something beyond your control could go wrong. 

The number of people who moved house in 2017 more than halved compared to ten years ago. This suggests that more and more people are looking to stay put and work on upgrading their existing home instead of the added money and hassle of looking elsewhere.  Are you one of the ever-increasing numbers of house owners who have decided to stay and renovate your kitchen or improve your living space? 

If the answer is yes, then you should check that you have the right house insurance in place.

Do I need to inform my home insurance provider about renovations?

You need to tell your insurance company that you are having substantial work done to your home.  There may be restrictions in place on your cover, dependent upon the scope of work that is to take place.  There may be no changes needed to your policy and your insurance provider will be able to confirm this with you.

Either way, it can be devastating to need to make a claim while having renovations done to your home as a result of something going wrong only to discover that you have inadvertently invalidated your insurance policy. Informing your policy provider first is a good way to get the peace of mind that your insurance is still valid.

Other things you may want to bear in mind when having renovations done to your property include:

Accidental damage

As a precaution, it may be worth looking at getting accidental damage cover until the renovation works have been completed.   If there is damage caused to your building or contents then this would protect you financially.   For example; if you fell through the ceiling, or your sofa was accidentally set on fire or there was a water leak that ruined everything then accidental damage is the cover you’d need to be able to make a successful claim.

Leaving your property unoccupied

Major renovations generally cause major upheavals and mayhem and depending on the scale and scope of the works you are having done to your property, it may be the case that you will have to leave the property for the duration of the building/renovation works.  If the time you are away from the property is likely to be more than 30 days then again, you need to tell your insurance provider.  There may be terms on your policy that affect cover during the unoccupied period. 

Legal cover on your policy also covers you if the firm of builders you are using goes bust before completing the works you have hired and paid them to do.  Legal cover could help you claim against the building company.

Will my home insurance cover home renovations?

Any building or renovation works that are carried out on your home should be insured against. You can hire the best team to renovate your home in your local area, but accidents can still happen and the cost to make additional repairs to your property – especially when not your fault – can be financially devastating.  It is paramount that you check that your property and yourself are protected as building and renovation works are not always covered by a standard home insurance policy.

Not all home insurance policies will cover home renovations – especially if you are having an extreme level of work carried out. In this case, you may want to consider additional home renovation insurance. These insurance policies protect against the main three risks, fire, flood and theft along with a number of others whilst renovation and building works are being carried out.

Renovation insurance also covers costs for subsidence damage, heave or landslip.  Fences, sheds and garages are also covered and so is the cost for repairs to such things as drains, pipes and cables.

House renovation insurance can also be classed as house refurbishment insurance, building work insurance and house refurbishment insurance to name just a few terms to look out for.

Typically renovations are likely to increase the value of your property,  and in the event of a claim would therefore cost more to rebuild.  Your policy premium payments, therefore, may increase due to the renovations you have had done to your property, dependent of course on the policy you have in place.

Am I covered if I do the work myself?

In short, it depends. DIY renovations can be a contentious issue when it comes to home insurance, and you’ll want to be fully aware of what is covered and what could put your policy at risk should you need to make a claim.

Typically, you won’t need to inform your insurer if you are doing smaller DIY jobs around the home. This could include things like putting shelves up or painting a room. If you have accidental damage cover as a part of your insurance policy, you’ll be covered for any mishaps as a result of your DIY project. 

However, if you’re planning on undertaking a larger DIY project that you’re not really qualified to be taking on, you may find that you’ve invalidated your insurance if you do need to make a claim later down the line. If in doubt, speaking to your home insurance provider first is always wise.

What details will my provider want to know?

The type of details your insurer may ask for when notifying them of any renovations you have planned could include: