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home improvements insurance header

Home improvements: when, what and why your insurer need to know

Planning on some big home improvements for your house this summer? If you are, don’t forget to inform your home insurance provider as research suggests that 41% of those who have carried out major work to their property have not informed their insurer of these changes.

By not informing your home insurer of major changes, such as building an extension, you run the risk of invalidating your insurance policy should you need to claim in future. Also, your insurer should be informed of any building and renovation work before it takes place as; “most home insurance policies don’t cover tradesmen or their work.” (Matt Sanders, GoCompare)

According the Association of British Insurers (ABI), you should inform your insurer before you have any major building work done so that they can change and amend your cover to reflect any increase in the rebuild cost of your home.

They also state the importance of informing insurer’s prior to work being carried out so appropriate cover can be put in place, if you do not already have it, due to the increased risk of damage to your home and its contents.

So when do I need to inform my insurer of work and when don’t I?

Here are a few examples of when you should be getting in touch with your insurance company:

  • Building an extension on your home
  • Adding a conservatory or orangery to your home
  • A new kitchen or bathroom fitted
  • Extend upwards into the attic
  • You update or change your roof, windows, electrics or heating system specifically if it will raise the value of your house

You don’t need to inform your insurance company when you:

  • Decorate
  • Recover floors
  • Add new cupboards or furniture to your house
  • Landscape your garden (although significant changes that involve the removal or addition of walls, outbuildings etc. maybe things your insurer needs to know about)

home improvements insurance content

Why do I need to inform my insurer of any major changes?

The building part of your insurance policy is based on your property at the time when you take out your policy. Therefore if there is a change in the structure of the house, whether you add something or take something away, your existing cover may no longer apply or be appropriate for your home.

Contents cover may become invalid if you claim for a loss of property or damage to your possessions in an area of your home that your insurer isn’t aware of. This is likely not to be viewed favourably and is unlikely to result in a successful claim for you.

I’m having major work done on my property, how should I go about informing my insurer?

Here are a few steps to consider and what your insurer may need to know from you:

  • It is very important that you contact your insurer before any building work starts.
  • Let them know what work will be done to your property and your insurer will be able to tell you if you need to increase your cover for the time of the build. If extra cover is not required, ask for this to be put in writing so you have something to refer back to just in case.
  • Your contents cover may need updating whilst work is taking place to add accidental damage for any slip up’s by builders and contractors in and around your house.
  • If you don’t inform your insurer of work and then need to make a claim, your insurer is likely to argue the property was significantly different from when the policy was taken out.
  • If you have to move out whilst work is going on, your insurer will need to know. They will be able to inform you of how long you can be away from your property before your cover will become invalid.
  • You could also add legal cover to your policy which will give you peace of mind should your building firm go bust or you end up in a dispute with them regarding poor workmanship etc.

For more information regarding this issue, get in touch with your insurer who should be able to provide you with the answers to any questions you have or you can visit the ABI website.

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