When converting, extending or renovating your property, standard home insurance is unlikely to cover the work. Altering the structure of your building is usually an exclusion on a home insurance policy.
Therefore, when starting a major project, it is important to inform your buildings and contents insurer that you will have works ongoing. The protection may then be limited or withdrawn, meaning you will need alternative cover for the duration of the build.
Undertaking major renovations, adding an extension or converting an existing property is a huge financial investment, so it’s essential to have the right insurance in place. Few people can afford to rebuild your home and extension out of their own pockets if something goes wrong.
This is where providers such as Self-Build Zone and Build-Zone can help, as the right policy will ensure your site is covered for the duration of the works, and afterwards.
First of all, if you builder tells you they have insurance, ask to see an original policy (not a photocopy) and check the limits/sums insured. Relying on your contractor’s or trades’ insurance cover may not always be the best course of action.
Many contractors only have public liability insurance. This only covers negligent acts, but it is sometimes a very lengthy and costly process to prove this.
Having just public liability cover also isn’t sufficient, as no one is taking full responsibility for the existing structure while works are in progress. A seriously fire-damaged property, whether it was caused accidentally or by vandalism, is a financial and emotional loss that doesn’t bear thinking about.
With a project that involves an existing structure, one of the key risks is consequential damage as a result of the new work. Arranging a site insurance policy is the best way to address this. Site insurance will cover not just the materials, risk and liabilities of the project, but also damage to your home.
A good site insurance policy will also provide protection for tools and equipment. It should include employers’ and public liability insurance to cover anyone working on site if they suffer an injury, or if damage is caused to a third party or their property. Should anything happen to a worker or family member on site during the construction, the cost of defending or pursuing a claim is covered under site insurance.
At Self-Build Zone, we also offer a suite of contracts to ensure robust and fair agreements with your chosen tradespeople and builders; protecting both parties.
Conversion projects can be complex affairs because of the diversity of trades working on the site with a variety of risks and exposures. Over many years we have become only too aware of the various difficult circumstances surrounding claims and we understand what causes our clients headaches and stress. To avoid these problems, it’s essential that you use properly constructed and written contracts.
Many people have lost £10,000s because they failed to use proper written contracts. Remember, the burden of proof is your responsibility if a claim is to succeed. So, use the right contracts for everything – from hiring trades and suppliers to professionals and contractors.
One area where most people fall down is when it comes to variations to the contract. Make sure that any changes are notarised by using anappropriate template, available through the likes of ContractStore.
Self-Build Zone’s latest Home Improvement Package provides cover on a property while it’s being improved or extended, even if you aren’t initially living there. It covers all the new works and materials, right up to completion of the project.
Jake Fitness is a team leader at Self-Build Zone, which provides site insurance and structural warranty products for new builds, renovations, extension and conversion projects, as well as a suite of plain English contracts in partnership with ContractStore.