Whether you’re renovating an older building to create your dream home or adding an extension to your current house, it’s likely that you’ll need specialist insurance to cover the project.
After all, structural works are a significant financial investment to make, so why wouldn’t you want to protect your money and the longevity of your property?
Many people begin home renovations without realising that it could be invalidating their existing insurance policies, and that the new construction isn’t covered at all.
This can end up costing you a lot in the long run if something goes wrong, because you’ll not only lose the money and time you initially put into the project, but if you don’t have the right cover then you’ll have to foot the bill for repairs or corrective work by yourself.
So, if you’re planning on carrying out structural renovations or extending your home, you need to make sure that you’re covering all the bases insurance-wise. Read on to learn more about which policies you’ll need to put in place for renovations and extensions.
There are many ways to make structural changes to an existing building, but these are some of the most common types of home renovations, conversions, and extensions:
Renovations can be done to upgrade any type of existing structure, whereas conversions tend to be changing it more extensively from one purpose to another.
For example, it’s becoming popular for developers to buy old unused buildings such as churches, shops, and farm outbuildings to convert them into flats.
Extensions tend to be smaller projects, which mainly involve adding a new part onto the main building. It’s often easier to consider this a separate structure, even though it’s attached.
Depending on the condition of the building and the extent of work that needs to be done, completing a renovation or extension can be a time-consuming and expensive undertaking.
The works will come with risks that affect both the existing structure and the parts you plan to complete, so taking out insurance that can be tailored to your project specifications is one of the first steps you should take when planning it out.
Lots of people might think that this type of work is already covered – by their own home insurance at their end, and by the builder or contractor’s own insurance at theirs – but this is a misconception. It’s likely that your existing policies exclude future building works, and whoever you hire for the job will only be covering their equipment and labour.
So, how many relevant types of insurance are there, and which ones should you be looking into?
When carrying out renovation or extension works, you might think that you can simply rely on your builder or contractor’s insurance to cover the project. However, though the builder will have a contract with you, their insurance policies will be established to safeguard their interests, not necessarily yours. For example, they’re likely to have the following policies set up as a business:
These policies essentially cover the workers and their work while onsite for the duration of the project – but not your investment as the property owner, and not before and after. Even in the case of liability insurance, you would have to prove their negligence was at fault in the case of injury or property damage. You can’t just leave things to chance and assume their insurance is enough.
You should keep your own best interests at the forefront. While it may be possible to have enough coverage for both yourself and your contractor by agreeing on an ‘All Risks’ insurance contract that covers more than just ‘named perils’, this still isn’t the same as home and contents insurance.
Even if you already have home and contents insurance and a warranty in place for yourself, you can’t assume that they’ll cover the new construction and still apply when the work is completed.
So, don’t leave it to chance – contact your current insurers and warranty providers before building work begins to discuss extending or replacing your policies to cover the new parts of your building.
While some policies might allow minor refurbishments without changing the policy, you’ll definitely need to notify the providers before you carry out more significant alterations like structural works.
There’s always the possibility of unforeseen risks with serious construction work, which is why it’s so important to make sure that everything is covered before it begins. If you fail to inform them and something goes wrong, your insurer can reject your claim because of the change in circumstances.
Due to the increased risks, and the upgrades to your property, it’s likely that your premiums will increase, too – but you should remember that high-quality completed work will also increase your home’s resale value. If you do intend to sell up in the future, having a building warranty should improve your chances, increasing buyers’ confidence and helping them to get a mortgage loan.
You can either speak to your existing warranty provider, if you already have an ongoing policy and are making changes to the structure covered by that policy, or you can look into setting up a new building warranty that covers the new structure. At Architects Certificate, we know all about the different circumstances and project stages that might require a warranty.
You can always come to us for a fair quote and honest evaluation of your project. Our chartered surveyors will help to make sure that all building work on your renovation or extension is up to standard and completed safely, with detailed reports should you need them. Whether you’re in charge of everything yourself and need a self-build warranty, or hiring someone else to do the work for you and need a standard building warranty, you should contact Architects Certificate for help.
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