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What does renovation insurance cover?

Given the uncertainties of the current housing market, many home owners are turning to renovation of their existing property rather than entering the chain of buying and selling. For anything other than very minor redecoration, however, the works involved may need the protection afforded by renovation insurance.

Why is it needed?

The reason for choosing the precaution of renovation insurance is simple – if the work involves more than simple redecoration, and especially if structural works are involved – your standard home insurance policy is unlikely to maintain the full protection your property may need.

When renovation works are underway, therefore, your current insurers may either impose an additional premium for cover to be maintained or may simply regard the standard cover as lapsed, or severely restricted. In order to maintain the protection, a separate, standalone renovation insurance policy is required.

The whole question of property insurance whilst renovation work is in progress may be more complicated than you imagined – it is the subject, for example, of detailed guidance notes on best practice as set out by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

What does renovation insurance cover?

As with most types of insurance, of course, the elements of cover included in renovation insurance may vary from one insurer to another. For detailed guidance on those elements covered by particular insurers, you may want to consult a specialist provider of this niche product – such as those of us here at GSI Insurance, where we have also produced a helpful guide to renovation insurance.

Typically, however, you might expect renovation policies to include cover for:

  • public liability – generally providing cover of at least £1 million in the event of claims from third parties who may be injured or have their property damaged as a result of the renovation works;
  • cover for the renovation works themselves – sometimes with the option of extending cover to protect against structural damage to the existing property;
  • cover for loss or damage to building materials used in the renovation works;
  • cover whilst the property remains unoccupied during the building works;
  • the flexibility of extending cover if the time estimated for the building works overruns; and
  • the ability to convert from renovation insurance to standard home buildings and contents insurance or to landlord’s insurance as soon as the building works are completed.

You might find that some insurance policies do not provide cover for property that has been empty since inception. If you are buying property with the express intention of renovating it before it is occupied, therefore, you might want to check that cover still applies.

Renovation insurance is a non-standard niche product which it might be all too easy to overlook if you are planning to renovate or refurbish your home or let property. In order to ensure that the property remains fully covered for the duration of the building works, however, you might consider it prudent to arrange this specialist form of insurance. Without it, you might find that any loss or damage incurred during the building works remains uninsured – and therefore very costly to put right.


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