Adding a New Wing to Your Mansion? Are You Insured for It?

Renovations and building work in your home can come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re having a new kitchen or bathroom, or landscaping your garden, it shouldn’t affect your home insurance — though it’s always worth checking your policy. Major works, though, like an extension (or even a new wing) are likely to be a different matter.

This is especially important because any building work increases the risk of damage to your home, as well temporary removal of doors and windows making it more vulnerable to burglary. Even if you’ve chosen a high-quality builder, accidents can happen, and of course that risk increases if you try to cut costs and hire someone who’s not up to scratch.

Making an insurance claim in these circumstances can result in the insurer’s loss adjuster turning you down if you haven’t informed them and made any necessary adjustments to your policy.

What Might Affect Your Policy During Building Work?

Your insurer will need to have a number of pieces of information in order to determine whether your policy will still cover you. Most are fairly basic, such as the cost of the work and how long it will take, as well as details of the contractor and whether they have public liability insurance.

However, they’ll also want to know whether or not the property will be empty during the work. Most home insurance policies specify that you must tell your insurer if the property is going to be unoccupied for over thirty days, and they may specify conditions (such as regular visits) in order to maintain cover and ensure any insurance claim you make will succeed.

Your insurer may ask for an extra premium on your existing policy, or you could have to take out specialist renovation insurance. You should also make sure your policy includes legal expenses cover, which you could need, for instance, if you have to sue the contractor for faulty work.

Your contractor should have insurance, including all-risk cover, public liability insurance and employer’s liability insurance. However, in our experience you can’t always count on this being adequate, so you should verify the policy with their insurer. While many are honest, all too often, builders have been known to present papers that are invalid, or even fraudulent. In any case, Allied Claims would recommend making sure your own insurance covers everything.

Finally, it’s important to be aware that any renovations or rebuilding could affect your home’s “rebuild cost”, which the insurer’s loss adjuster will use as the basis to calculate what you’re awarded for a claim. Make sure you give your insurer details of the work that’s been done, so that they can adjust the rebuild cost Then Allied Claims will be able to get you the right amount if you do have to make a claim.