One in three insurance policies invalid due to home improvements

According to research by uSwitch.com nine in ten (90%) homeowners have renovated their homes over the last five years and almost six in ten (58%) of these have carried out extension work such as loft conversions, new garages or extra bathrooms.

More than half (52%) of those who have carried out the extension work have not informed their insurer, potentially leaving up to one in three consumers with an invalid insurance policy.

The research also reveals that consumers are failing to adequately protect their homes when the work is actually being carried out.  Four in ten (43%) did not take steps to arrange extra cover for accidental damage to possessions or the increased security risk of open walls or removing doors and windows.  More worryingly, half of home improvers (49%) failed to check whether their tradesman was certified, leaving themselves open to being short-changed.  Then seven in ten (71%) prefer to pay contractors in cash whenever possible; but with no paper trail homeowners will be left exposed if the job is not completed as promised.

If you are extending your home you are likely to be increasing the rebuild cost, so you will need to make sure this is updated with your insurer.  You might need to buy specialist insurance if your home has been built in an unusual way, such as if it has timber frames or another non-standard feature.  Plus, if any external windows, doors or walls are removed during building work, you will be more vulnerable to burglaries, so you also need to make sure you are covered for this.

It is also important to make sure the builders have public liability insurance to cover any accidental damage that happens during the work.  With almost half of homeowners borrowing money in order to fund their building projects, the last thing you want is to get into extra debt if something goes wrong.

Post courtesy of Property Reporter.