DIY How To

Home improvements and the need for insurance

When improving your home, be it by building a new extension, converting the loft or simply by renovating the bathroom, there are insurance implications that you need to be aware of.

Home improvements are a great way to add value to your property. According to estate agents a loft conversion can add 8% to the value of your property, whilst installing a new kitchen or bathroom can add a further 2.5% and 2.2% respectively.

Whatever home improvements you do decide to embark upon you must keep your insurer informed every step of the way, both before, during and after the work has been completed.

Home improvement insurance needs

Before the work begins
First of all, check if you need planning permission. Are there certain building regulations that you need to comply with or is your home a listed building. Contact your local authority's planning and building control department to find out if you are allowed to start the work.

Also it is only polite that you should discuss any home improvements with your neighbours. Talk to them about the possible noise disruption, what you plan on doing, if there will be any effect on the fences and walls you have in common and if at any point builders may need access to their land.

Finally contact your home insurance company. Let them know of the planned works, whether you are doing the work yourself or getting builders in and the estimated timeframe for completion. Also now would be a good time to find out the types of locks and alarm systems will help in reducing your annual home insurance premium, as these minor jobs can be completed during your home improvement project.

During the work
In regards to your insurer you should only need to contact them if the building work is behind schedule or if there is some form of incident that you may need to claim on.

If other parts of your home are damaged in the process by an external contractor then their insurance should cover the damage.

Get into the habit of clearing up the workspace to avoid accidents and if working outside, remember to pack away your tools. Not only could they be stolen, but they could also be used to gain entry into your home.

After the work is completed
Finally the job is finished and you can sit back, relax and admire your handiwork.

One last thing you should do is once again contact your insurer to advise them that the work has been completed and discuss what this means for your house insurance premium.

If you have increased the living space with a new conservatory, renovated the loft or installed a new kitchen or bathroom, this will have increased the rebuild value of your home.

These new details will need to be considered by your insurer as it will affect the buildings part of your home policy.

Finally, you may have added more items to your home that will also need insuring. For example, a new conservatory will need added furniture, so contact your insurer and advise them of the new items and make sure the sum insured is enough to cover all items in your home.

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