Home Property Fixer-uppers leaving homeowners vulnerable and uninsured

Fixer-uppers leaving homeowners vulnerable and uninsured

by LLP Staff Reporter
28th Sep 23 11:17 am

Homeowners are being warned to take precautionary steps before starting renovations to prevent being left uninsured.

Home insurance comparison experts at Quotezone.co.uk are making Brits aware of how to undertake home improvement projects without significantly impacting their home insurance cover.

Many homeowners are unaware they are required to tell insurers about any structural works they’re planning to make to the property and are therefore in danger of invalidating their policy.

Whether it’s a room extension, a loft conversion or adding a sunroom, it’s crucial to obtain the necessary permits and inform the insurer while the works are still in the planning stage.  The insurance company can then assess if the current policy covers the planned renovations or whether it’s necessary to take out extra cover.

Extra cover may be needed because some renovations can increase the costs of rebuilding the house and change the value the home is insured for.

There’s also a greater risk of damage while building works are being carried out and the house is more likely to be burgled if it’s left unoccupied during construction.

Most standard home insurance policies don’t cover damage caused by accidents, so to avoid unexpected expenses, consider hiring a professional or obtain accidental damage insurance.

Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that a claim may not be successful if an accident occurs after attempting unqualified electrical, plumbing, or gas work.

Although the pre-renovation assessment may slightly increase the insurance premiums, at least homeowners will have the peace of mind that their house has sufficient coverage in place.

Home insurance comparison expert Helen Rolph from Quotezone.co.uk said, “Our homes are one of, if not the, most important assets in our lives and with many households experiencing lifestyle changes over the last few years, they have become integral to both work and life for many.

“With the recent surge of people adapting their homes to suit these new needs, renovations are still incredibly popular and builders are in high demand.  Before beginning any home renovations, it’s crucial to take certain precautions to prevent your dream project turning into a costly disaster.

“Do your homework on your suppliers to avoid hiring dodgy builders, ensuring they are members of an official association such as the National Federation of Builders, if damages occur and those on site aren’t qualified professionals, your home insurance is unlikely to cover you.  Be sure to ask for permits, credentials and proof of their insurance before any work commences – faulty or poor work is unlikely to be covered by any insurance provider.

“Always remember to notify your home insurance provider that you are planning to have renovation work done, even if it’s as simple as installing a new kitchen or a garage office, and detail any structural alterations you’re planning to carry out – be as transparent as possible when discussing your plans to ensure you are protected and don’t forget to tell your provider when the work is completed.

“If you’re planning on moving out while the renovations are underway you’ll need to update the details on your home insurance policy – longer than 30 days or changes to your existing unoccupied allocation could render the policy invalid.

“Depending on the nature of the work you may even need a specialist ‘renovation’ or ‘self-build’ insurance policy to safeguard your home – you don’t want to run the risk of still having to pay a mortgage on a home you can no longer live in.”

Here are Quotezone.co.uk’s top tips for home improvement projects:

  1. Obtain permits

Before starting any home renovation project, always ensure that you or your building contractor obtain the necessary permits and approvals from your local authorities. Don’t expect the insurance to pay out for claims if the renovations were done without proper permits or in violation of building codes.

  1. Notify your insurer

Before starting any home renovations, it’s important to inform your insurance company. They can offer advice on how the changes may affect your coverage and assist in adjusting your policy if necessary. Your insurance provider may approve the changes without any adjustments, but it’s always better to confirm. Failing to do so could potentially void your policy, so it’s crucial to be proactive.

  1. Don’t attempt to do DIY jobs you’re not qualified to do

You might think that you’re cutting costs by skipping hiring professionals and having a go yourself, however if there’s damage from shoddy workmanship, any insurance claims may not be successful.  Using licensed contractors to do the work might save you money overall.

  1. Consider accidental damage insurance

If building work damages your property, your buildings insurance is unlikely to cover the cost. If you are renovating your home, it may be worth purchasing accidental damage cover which covers all sorts of mishaps and protects you from expensive repair costs.  Just double check with the provider that DIY is included in the list of accidents covered.

  1. Keep records

It is important to keep thorough records of any renovation work you do, such as permits, receipts, inspections and approvals. This documentation can be critical should you need to make an insurance claim or prove the quality of the work done.

  1. Compare quotes from different providers

If you’re looking for a home insurance policy to cover your home improvements, you should compare different companies to find savings and a better quality product.

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