Insurance for Extensions: Everything You Need to Know

Simon Middleton from specialist insurance and warranty provider Protek shares why an extension policy is important for your build
Protek self-build insurance
by Protek
30th January 2024

If you’re taking on an extension project, you might think that your standard home insurance will cover the house and all the works, however, in most cases it doesn’t.

If you carefully read your policy, you could discover that extensions, renovations, alterations or leaving a property unoccupied are all excluded.

Some home insurance providers will agree to add an extension project to your policy. Yet even then, the cover provided won’t typically protect you adequately against the risks you will be confronted with. A claim against you as a result of damage to neighbouring property (either as a result of an accident or your contractual responsibility under a Party Wall agreement) is a classic example. Such issues can run into thousands of pounds very quickly.

It’s not just the damage itself you need to think about, however. The resultant delay to your project while rebuilding work is carried out can have a serious knock-on effect to your finances and budget.

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Will My Builder’s Insurance Cover my Extension Work?

Even if your builder has public liability insurance, sadly this only covers them against their negligence, which is a relatively rare reason for claims. If they have all risks insurance (not just public liability) and are doing the extension on a formally contracted basis from start to finish, without major alteration to the existing structure, then you should be able to rely on their cover and your home insurance. But tell your provider and get their agreement in writing.

However, if you’re managing trades, doing some DIY, buying the materials or taking over part-completed works to finish yourself, then you really do need specific extension insurance. This will also allow you to live in the property while you carry out the works (assuming it’s safe to do so). Be sure to tell your home insurer what you’re doing and check they’re still happy to continue cover for your property’s contents.

This timber frame was badly damaged after a storm

What Cover Do I Need for an Extension?

Extension insurance is designed to cater for the risks you will face. It provides the homeowner protection on both the main house (classed as the existing structure) and the new addition as a building project for the duration of the works. Cover is provided on a lost or damaged basis, which is far wider than named perils, so the need to prove negligence from your builder is removed. In short, it is specifically designed to cover the risks you will face when carrying out an extension project.

Extension insurance won’t automatically include party wall liability, so make it very clear if you need cover for your exposure to this. Such situations require specific additional cover, and you must tell the insurance provider in advance.

After a gable wall collapsed in this project, this beam and block floor suffered substantial damage, resulting in large amounts of rebuilding working

In terms of going DIY, most extension policies sold by a specialist such as Protek will enable you to carry out part or all of the works yourself. However, some restrictions may apply around demolition, underpinning works etc – where cover might be subject to you using an appropriately qualified pro.

On a £200,000 house with an extension budget of £100,000, you might pay around £478 for six months’ cover. That’s a very reasonable investment in comparison to a damaged shower tray or the cost of remedying concrete splashed on your neighbour’s car. In the case of collapsed walls (resulting structural damage), injury to a contractor or theft of an item of hired plant, it can quickly become the most valuable product you purchase.

Simon Middleton is managing director of Protek Group. Since starting his career as a site engineer, he has been underwriting site insurance and structural warranty in the self build and construction sector for over 25 years. For more information speak to the team by calling 0333 456 8030 or by visiting Protek‘s website.

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