With widespread interruptions caused by COVID-19 moving into the Spring and Summer months, which is normally the best time to tackle home renovations with the British climate, a large number of home renovations projects planned for 2020 are currently still on hold. Many home owners will be hoping that their plans can go ahead in 2021 instead, so we have put together some useful information to consider when preparing, including information on the home renovations insurance you might want to get in place before anyone comes on sight.
Home Renovations Insurance
If you’re about to embark on your first renovation project in 2021, you may not be aware that standard home insurance policies will often not allow for any renovations to take place at all, even if you’re not planning any structural work, so even if you’re only planning to redecorate, it is worth discussing with your insurer. For smaller projects, you may find they are able to accommodate you.
For more extensive renovation, where the fabric of the building is exposed and the risk to the structure is increased, it may be better suited for a specialist renovation policy.
Why do I need renovation insurance?
Structural work in particular, which could include removing walls or extending the building, can often be specifically excluded from standard policies, and/or it may be a requirement that you inform your insurers before any work takes place. This may invalidate your cover, especially if the renovation work has anything to do with the damage to your property, or is responsible for the theft or loss of the contents within.
Even if your contractors have relevant insurance in place, it only covers for their liability while working on your behalf. Therefore the building as it currently stands and everything within is still yours to insure. It is important that the insurer is aware and accepts the scale of the project.
What does renovations insurance cover?
If your current company is unable to cover you, then specialist renovations insurance policies are available that can be varied depending on your specific requirements. Some of the cover available can include:
- the structure of the existing building
- cover against the risk of loss or damage to the renovated parts of the building (insurance for work in progress)
- public liability cover – typically up to a minimum of £2 million (please note that your contractors are likely to have personal accident cover to protect them if injured while on site)
- unoccupied property cover – some insurers reduce the cover to Fire Lightning, Earthquake, Explosion and Aircraft (FLEA); but a specialist policy is more likely to offer you a more comprehensive level of cover
- flexibility to extend the policy if the project encounters delays
Once you have the right insurance in place, you can get started with work in the comfort that your property is fully protected.
UK Government Assistance
Following an announcement from Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP on the 22nd June 2020, the UK Government have been putting measures in place to try and stimulate the construction industry moving into 2021. This has included the extension of planning permission deadlines, faster planning appeals, and more flexible working hours for builders.
While previously, planning permission usually expires after three years if work has not started, any projects with an expiry date between the start of lockdown and the end of 2021 have seen their permission extend to 1st April 2021, allowing work that has been disrupted temporarily to be able to progress in the new year.
In June 2020 alone, it was estimated that permissions providing more than 24,000 new homes would have expired. The new measures were devised to help these developments resume when viable.
New measures also allow the Planning Inspectorate to use a combination of written representations, hearings and inquiries at the same time to speed up the appeals process. When this was tested in 2018, it more than halved the time taken for appeal inquiries.
This will also help builders to agree more flexible working hours with their local council for a temporary period, making it easier for contractors to follow public health guidance onsite.
As a renovation insurance specialist, GSI Insurance Services (Southern) Ltd have seen projects of all shapes, sizes and budgets, along with the different insurance requirements for each one. We are experienced in finding the right cover for our clients at a competitive premium. Give us a call on 0800 612 9376 or fill in our renovation insurance quote form here to discuss your needs.