It is an easy assumption to make. Your home insurance covers your buildings, so when some work is being done on those buildings, your home insurance will cover for you for any damage. Sadly, this is a dangerous and false assumption.
In our experience many people, perhaps even most people, make that assumption when they are having renovation works done. It appears to make sense. In reality it is almost certainly wrong.
Your home insurance might allow you to carry out work, often up to the value of £100,000. That just means your existing cover is not invalidated, although for some policies your home insurance is invalidated if you do not tell them, and you can suddenly find that not even your household possessions are insured.
It is possible that if you speak to your home insurer before you have renovations done, and ask them. ‘Am I still covered?’ they will say yes. All they mean is that your buildings are still covered on a very basic level – if there is a fire, flood, etc.
Let’s say your builder is working on a ceiling and it collapses. Your home insurance won’t cover you for it. And your builder’s insurance might not either, if it is not clear they were negligent. Even if they were negligent, they might not want to admit this and make a claim, and face higher premiums in future. And if they do make a claim, they are in receipt of the payout, so they choose how much they give you.
The ceiling example does not sound too bad, but if something bigger goes wrong – say a chimney stack collapsing through your roof and all the way to the ground floor – your entire house could be catastrophically damaged, to the point where it needs to be entirely rebuilt. Your home insurers would almost certainly say that they are not liable, in which case you could be facing costs far beyond your ability to pay them – a life-changing catastrophe.
Imagine you have a beautiful and expensive new kitchen waiting to be installed, stored downstairs in your home. One night it is stolen, and you call your home insurer fully expecting them to cover it. They are very likely to tell you that when the kitchen was stolen it was not part of your property, but was waiting to become part of your property. Sorry, they can’t help you.
As these scenarios show, you cannot depend on your home insurance when you have renovations done. Even when home insurers ‘note’ that work is taking place and agree to continue cover, they will have a specific exclusion that says ‘any loss or damage relating to the works is excluded’. Which means that your existing home could be damaged in various ways but your home insurer would want nothing to do with it, on the basis of that exclusion.
Do not risk it. There is too much at stake. Speak to us about securing renovation insurance for your future renovation works.