Who knows how the housing market is likely to behave during the time it takes to advertise your present house for sale, attract a buyer, find a new home and complete the rocky road to an exchange of contracts.
You might avoid all of those headaches by instead renovating a property you already own – whether it is currently occupied by you and your family or bought as an empty property to do up and move into yourself or let out to tenants.
Among all the things you have to arrange – from planning permission, raising the funds, choosing contractors and satisfying building regulations inspectors – there is one especially important matter not to overlook, and that is renovation insurance.
Why have specialist insurance?
So why do you need to consult a specialist provider of property renovation insurance when you are embarking on such a project?
- unless your renovations amount to little more than simple redecoration, and especially if they involve structural changes to your property, many home insurers refuse to amend or extend the existing cover normally protecting your home;
- in those circumstances, renovation insurance looks to restore the cover you need to safeguard both the building – the existing structure and any new building works – and any contents that might be stolen, lost or damaged;
- as the renovations progress, you may have bought expensive materials, fixtures and fittings which are sitting on site until they can be used in the building works – insurance cover is necessary to safeguard the theft, loss or damage of such items.
- that exposure to theft, loss or damage is heightened during renovation works because it may not be possible to live in the property whilst renovation is in progress and the building therefore stands empty and unoccupied for many hours of the day and night over a fairly long period;
- renovation insurance, therefore, typically incorporates what amounts to unoccupied property insurance for as long as the building works are in progress;
- this might raise a particular problem if you are buying a formerly empty or abandoned property with the intention of doing it up to live in yourself or to let to tenants, since some insurers may decline cover if the property has been unoccupied from inception;
- renovation insurance also needs to pay particular attention to your responsibilities as the property owner to take all reasonable precautions against any third party bring injured or having their property damaged during the building works – even if there is no one on site, you may still be held liable for such injuries and losses and face substantial claims for compensation as a result;
- a little known feature of some types of renovation insurance, and a risk that might only rarely need to be covered, is raised in a detailed guide on home renovations published by the Building Control Department of Hampshire County Council;
- the Council points out the risk of previous owners conducting renovation work without securing the necessary completion certificate about compliance with Building Regulations – special indemnity insurance against the risks of claims arising from potentially unsafe building works might then be necessary.
Overlook property renovation insurance at your peril – without it, the building works on your property might end up costing considerably more than you had expected.