Protecting your renovations

Posted: 27th Dec 2015

Property Renovation InsuranceAccording to the website Landlord Today, Britons appear to have a greater passion for renovation and home improvement generally than any other country in Europe – three out of every four homeowners in this country carried out some form of home improvement during 2014, claims the website, and still more projects are planned for 2016.

The attraction of renovating

There are a number of reasons why a homeowner or landlord might want to renovate a property:

  • the existing property has become tired and worn, with a need for updating in order to improve the residential experience or to attract suitable tenants;
  • the current state of the housing market in the UK makes renovation a more economical – and more certain – proposition than selling up and moving elsewhere;
  • buying a previously empty or abandoned property allows a blank canvas on which to create the home you have always wanted or a property to form the cornerstone of a buy to let business.

Guides to renovating your property

If you are committed to renovating a property – as your future home or one to let out to tenants – there are a number of online resources offering a step by step approach to the most likely stages of such a project.

Sources you might want to investigate further, for example, might include a guide compiled by the BBC, or the tips and suggestions published in the Telegraph newspaper on profitably renovating a property.

Protecting your renovations

Putting to one side for the moment the planning that goes into any renovation project and the management of the building works involved, it is important at a very early stage to consider how you might go about protecting your renovations from the wide range of risks and perils they may face.

The answer lies in a specialist form of renovation insurance, which you might find offered only by a select few insurance providers.

Why is specialist cover necessary?

Specialist renovation insurance is likely to be necessary simply because of the limitations and restrictions of other forms of insurance which you might have thought protected your property.

Your standard home insurance policy, for instance, is unlikely to maintain the cover you need during the course of renovations – unless these are as superficial as simply repainting and decorating.

Many home insurance or landlord insurance policies specifically exclude loss or damage to the structure or fabric of your building if extensions or other structural alterations are being added.

An equally important area of cover is your public liability – if a visitor to your property, a supplier or any member of the public, during the course of renovation work is injured or has their property damaged in any way, you are likely to be held liable and ordered to pay substantial compensation for their loss.

The contractor’s liability insurance typically doesn’t cover any claims against you

Although the contractors working on your renovation works are likely to have arranged insurance cover for their own public liability, this does not extend to any incident for which you as the property owner may be held liable. Only specially designed renovation insurance is likely to afford you this protection.

A further limitation of your existing home or landlord insurance policy may lie in the named risks that are covered – such as fire, flooding, impacts and the like. As the online Homebuilding and Renovating magazine points out, however, such policies do not provide the all risks site cover which may be needed if structural damage follows upon an existing wall being knocked through or demolished.

Materials, supplies and machinery

In addition to public liability cover and safeguarding the existing structure of your property are other risks associated with the renovation works in progress. On site, for example, you may have valuable materials, supplies, plant, machinery and tools which are at risk of being stolen or vandalised. Renovation insurance may protect you against such risks.

Renovation projects – and building works in general – have a tendency to overrun their scheduled completion dates. When arranging your renovation insurance, therefore, you might want to choose a policy that offers sufficient flexibility for extending the cover it offers to meet any extended completion dates.

Finally, of course, you may want to ensure that the completed renovation works – and any structural changes in particular – are also adequately protected by an appropriate form of insurance, updating where necessary your existing home or landlord insurance cover.

The specialist, niche cover provided by renovation insurance, therefore, may provide the solution for ensuring that work in progress, the supplies, materials and tools likely to be on site, and the potentially substantial claims arising from your public liability are all suitably protected.

Further reading: Guide to Renovating.