The clocks have once again gone forward and British Summer time is (ever so gently) knocking on the door. With the cost of living crisis in full swing, moving house isn’t as practical or desirable as it once was. That’s where home renovations come in, a way to satisfy your desire for something new without completely breaking the bank!
First things first
While it might be tempting to pick up a drill, take a breath and review your home insurance policy first to check it covers home renovations, and importantly any damages that may occur during the process. 90% of homeowners are unaware they need to advise their home insurer of any renovation plans, including if you are carrying out the work yourself or using a contractor.
Your home insurer will also want to know:
- The timescale for the work (including a start and end date)
- The cost of the project
- A thorough outline of the project
- Names of the individuals conducting the renovations
The devil’s in the detail
The plans are approved. Your contractor is appointed. You’ve informed your home insurer.
Now comes the fun part, right?
Well, not quite.
Even when home insurers ‘note’ that work is taking place and agree to continue cover, they will have a specific exclusion that says ‘any loss or damage relating to the works is excluded’. This means that your existing home could be damaged in various ways but your home insurer would not cover it, on the basis of that exclusion. As they say, the devil’s in the detail.
Your existing building might still be covered on a basic level, but what about other risks?
Renovation Underwriting give some examples of where things can go wrong:
- You won’t be covered if your contractor damages your building – If your builder is working on a wall and it collapses, your home insurance might not cover you for it. And your builder’s insurance might not cover it either (if it’s not clear they were negligent).
- You won’t be covered if your home needs to be rebuilt – If a chimney stack collapses through your roof your entire house could be catastrophically damaged, to the point where it needs to be entirely rebuilt. Your home insurers could certainly say that they are not liable, in which case you could be facing a hefty life changing bill.
- You won’t be covered if building materials are stolen or damaged – If your building contract does not specify who should insure materials then it is likely that your home insurer won’t cover them if they are damaged or stolen. Most builders don’t carry insurance for site materials unless they own them, so if you have paid for them they are almost certainly uninsured.
Stop, it’s NOT hammer time!
When undergoing renovations to your home, you are adding substantial value, but also greatly increasing your exposure to risk.
Homeowners tend to think that their contractor’s all risks policy will cover everything, but this isn’t the case. Because of this it might be worth taking out Renovation Insurance, especially if you have a high net worth property.
Renovation Insurance, otherwise known as a Homeowners Contracts Works policy, is a specialist policy that protects the works in progress during an extension or renovation project.
Renovation Insurance can protect you against a wide range of risks:
- Comprehensive cover for existing buildings
- Ongoing contract works
- Your liability as a landowner
- Machinery and materials used on site
- Can be extended to include employers liabilities and unintentional damage to neighbouring properties
But do I REALLY need it?
When large sums of money are involved, wouldn’t you rather have peace of mind that creating your dream house won’t turn into a nightmare?
With your own Renovation Insurance, you’re in control from the outset – and you can be confident you’re covered for all the risks associated with a building project.
In the event of a claim it all comes down to proving negligence, which is very difficult to do – and your contractor’s insurer may refuse to pay on the grounds of their policy wording.
Whatever the outcome of a claim, it won’t be a speedy process, so you might not want to rely on your contractor’s insurance, especially when large sums are involved.
Living the green dream
The Huf Haus is still a very popular option for those who favour the ultra-modern look, the distinctive use of glass and steel making it so open you might feel like you are actually living in the garden! And it’s close to zero carbon footprint make it a very attractive option.
Constructed to a very high standard, a Huf Haus can be expensive to renovate or rebuild so it’s worth finding a specialist insurer who will cater for higher value homes. Huf Haus Insurance is a specialist home and contents policy with extra features such as no excess for accidental damage to glass. Most importantly, in the event of a claim you’re covered for Huf Haus approved parts and contract work. Because every Huf Haus is unique, you need specialist cover with flexible terms and generous limits.
Any final pearls of wisdom?
Here are our handy tips to make sure your renovation project stays on track:
- Set a hard budget – costs can all too easily spiral out of control
- Research contractors – just because they are a friend of a friend doesn’t make them the perfect contractor for you!
- Organise a storage plan for your furniture and possessions
- Install temporary security devices such as locks
Overall, make sure to take the best precautions you can to reduce your risk, and cover yourself for the worst happening.
Risk less, and your renovation journey to dream home status should be smooth sailing.
At Macbeth we specialise in all forms of high-end home insurance, including renovation insurance for works in excess of £500,000 and Huf Haus insurance.
The Private Client team are very experienced in all forms of restorations, from extensions to basement builds and will be very happy to assist.