Building works

Must I inform my insurer if I am having some building work carried out?

Regardless of whether you are extending, modernising or renovating your home, having any building work carried out at your property increases the risk of potential damage to the structure of the building and indeed the contents within.

Insurers are acutely aware of the increased risk factors that building works bring and therefore require you to notify them before any work commences.

Unless an insurer has been fully informed and confirmed cover will remain in place prior to work commencing, such works are likely to invalidate your insurance cover leaving you exposed to potential damage.

What information do insurers require?

The first step is to inform your insurer that you are thinking of having building works carried out at your property. They will then ask you a number of relevant questions to ascertain as to what level of increased risk the proposed works pose.

Your insurer will need to know various factors including the type of work being carried out, how long the contract is expected to last, the cost of the contract, details of the contractor carrying out the work including confirmation that they have experience in the field and that they have relevant insurance cover currently in force. Insurers also need to know whether your home will remain occupied throughout the works and whether there are any increased exposures to your property to the elements and/or heightened security threats. You may find your insurer asks you to complete a questionnaire to ensure all these facts are captured accurately and/or ask you to submit copies of the proposed plans or contracts.

Once fully informed, what action will my insurer take?

Your insurer will collate all of the information you submit to them to ascertain what action, if any, they will take in respect of the proposed works.

If the works are cosmetic with a low cost, short period contract and your property remains fully occupied and secure throughout, the increased risk to insurers for a potential claim is minimal and you may find insurers simply note their file accordingly.

However, should the work be more of a structural nature involving, for instance, load bearing walls, work on or around the roof, affect the utilities to the property or an extension leaving areas of the property exposed to the elements, it dramatically increases the risk of damage and you can therefore understand why insurers may apply additional terms to your policy.

The terms applied by insurers can vary depending on the type of work carried and could result in an increased premium being charged, restrictions or exclusions to policy cover and/or the insurer may decide to apply specific works conditions or endorsements to the policy including making the contractor responsible for any damage they cause or a ‘theft by forcible entry’ clause if the contractor has open access to your property.

If major works are due to be carried out and the property becomes a building site, it is almost certain that insurers will cancel your policy and insist you obtain cover elsewhere usually via a specialist insurance provider.

What happens when the works are complete?

Once the works are complete, your duty to insurers does not automatically end. If the works have involved major updating or refurbishment it is likely that the rebuild cost of your property has also increased. You must therefore discuss this matter with your insurers to see if you should increase your buildings sum insured. Likewise, if you have added new rooms it is likely that you will fill these with new furniture and you must check that your contents sum insured remains adequate. Failure to maintain adequate sums insured could result in a claim not being settled or being paid at a reduced figure.

Many modern home insurance policies come with automatic pre-set sums insured limits for buildings and contents so you may find that, despite your required increase, you still fall within these pre-set limits. It is still best advice to refer to insurers to be sure.

Let us take care of it for you

At Invicta Insurance Services Limited we are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority to provide customers with independent and honest advice. This allows us to negotiate the best possible terms for you should you decide to carry out some building works at your home. In addition, should your insurer have no choice but to cancel cover due to the exposure, we also have access to specialist providers of buildings works insurance policies. This will enable you to not only proceed with your proposed works, but ensure one of your greatest asset remains protected throughout.

For more information or to advise that you are planning works call us know on 01732 471950.

Invicta House, Amherst Hill, Riverhead, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2EL
Tel: 01732 471950 Email: info@invictainsuranceservices.co.uk
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