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Need to know: Property renovation insurance

With lots of stories in the press about celebrity home renovations – The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s £1.5million renovation of Anmer Hall and actress Jennifer Aniston’s alleged “drive through” wardrobe – we thought it timely to let you know that at GSI Insurance, we offer specialist renovation insurance for people with empty properties looking to carry out renovations whilst it is unoccupied. You don’t have to be famous either!

Won’t my landlords or home insurance cover the property while I renovate?

No. Your existing buildings insurance (which is either part of your landlord insurance or owner-occupier home insurance) typically will not provide all the extra elements of cover your property needs while it is being renovated.

This is because there are extra hazards the building may be more prone to, for example:

  • the property is left empty while remodelling is carried out, making it more vulnerable to thieves and vandals;
  • you will likely have tradesmen in your property, often carrying out tricky jobs, (eg. knocking down a wall) which could mean other parts of your property are unintentionally damaged, etc.

That is why specialist cover is required – to cover these and other additional risks.

Renovation insurance is a particularly bespoke product, so it is important to understand what it typically covers. Note that the following should be used as a guide only, as different insurers may have different terms and benefits:

  • the policy typically covers non structural  and structural work (limits on the sum insured value may apply – for example up to a maximum amount of  £100,000);
  • the cover is designed for renovations being carried out on empty properties, such as extensions, loft conversions etc;
  • this is a specialist product for homeowners and landlords whose property will be empty whilst the works are being carried out;
  • an unoccupied property is typically defined as one that stands empty for at least 30-45 consecutive days (by standing empty, this means that no one is actually living there);
  • property owners liability insurance is generally included – typically up to £2m;
  • options for fire and theft cover available.


As with all insurance cover, typically there may be some elements of cover that are excluded under renovation insurance, so ensure you understand exactly what these are. For example:

  • the policy does not cover the actual works themselves;
  • if the renovation includes structural works, subsidence cover is excluded.

Finally, don’t forget that once your renovation works are complete, you should  review your existing landlords insurance or owner-occupier home insurance. If you have added on an extra bedroom or a conservatory, for example, you will need to tell your insurer. Have you increased the value of the property? Again, speak to your insurer to get a revised sum insured. Having put all that time and expense in to remodelling your property, the last thing you want to do in the event of a claim is to find you are underinsured.

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