Insuring renovation work to properties may take any number of different forms depending on what you’re carrying out – some involving little more than a lick of paint and decoratively sprucing up, others may require major building works affecting the very structure of the building and a project extending over several months, or longer.
Whatever is involved in such works, you are likely to be concerned about preserving adequate insurance cover for the property you own:
- if the works are relatively minor, such as basic redecoration, these are already likely to be included within your existing home insurance – or indeed landlord insurance – policy without any further change;
- if the works are major – especially if they involve structural alterations to the building or the addition of an extension or loft conversion – most policies need to be reviewed by the insurer, who can ensure that appropriate protection is put in place to cover the extra risks involved.
Examples of the latter may be many and varied – such as the renovation of a derelict or previously abandoned property, a barn, church or school conversion, or simply a major makeover of your existing residential property.
Insuring renovation work or property extension
Although you may typically need to discuss your proposed project with your existing insurer the most certain and reliable way of maintaining insurance cover for your property whilst works are in progress is to arrange special renovation and extension insurance.
Unless you arrange this specialist cover, you may find that the only protection for your property during the building works is basic insurance against fire, lightening, explosion and aircraft (commonly referred to by its initials FLEA) and sometimes with the addition of cover against earthquakes, too (FLEEA).
Comprehensive safeguards against the many additional risks to which your home is likely to be exposed during its renovation or extension are restored by property renovation and extension insurance.
This is a specialist form of insurance in which we specialise here at GSI Insurance, where we have written a complete guide to some of the major considerations involved in carrying out such works.
What do we need to know?
There are a number of questions likely to be asked when insuring renovation work or an extension of your property, the main ones of which might typically include:
- the exact nature and extent of the proposed works – any structural changes planned or extensions to be added;
- whether the property will be lived in while the works are carried out;
- the contractors you propose to engage for the works and whether they are employed according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyor’s (RICS) Joint Contract Tribunal (JCT) standard form of contract;
- how long the building works are scheduled to last; and
- the estimated total cost of the works.
What is covered?
The details of cover offered by any property renovation or extension insurance of course vary from insurer to insurer. Typically, however, you might expect to see at least the following elements of cover:
- loss or damage to the building (some limits and exceptions may apply);
- public liability cover – in respect of your potential liability as the property owner for injuries or other loss or damage to the property of members of the public, visitors to your site and others;
- theft of onsite tools, building materials and fittings;
- empty property insurance – to maintain comprehensive cover for the building and its contents for any period that it remains unoccupied during the building works; and
- flexibility in extending the period of renovation or extension insurance if the works run overschedule.
In all the excitement of creating a brand new home through its renovation or extension, therefore, it is important not to overlook the need for appropriate insurance cover.