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Renovations are covered under home insurance, right? Wrong.

It is an easy assumption to make. Your home insurance covers your buildings, so when work is being done on those buildings, your home insurance will cover for you for any damage. Sadly, this is a dangerous assumption as this will depend on the precise wording of the policy.

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 may be 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 that you are. All they mean is that your buildings are still covered on a very basic level – if there is a fire, flood, etc.

Let’s look at some examples of what they don’t mean.

If your contractor damages your building

Let’s say your builder is working on a ceiling and it collapses. Your home insurance may not cover you for it. This will depend on the precise wording of your insurance policy, the nature of the works being carried out and even the nature of the contract with the builder. And your builder’s insurance might not cover it 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 could be in receipt of the payout, so they choose how much they give you.

If your home needs to be rebuilt

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 might 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.

If building materials are stolen or damaged

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 might 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.

Conclusion: do not rely on home insurance for renovations

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 might 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.

Don’t risk it. There’s too much at stake. Speak to Partners& about securing renovation insurance for your future renovation works.