You may have had time over the Summer months to think about home renovations and even started to plan a revamp of your home. Savvy homeowners will make sure that any improvement adds value to the property, even if there are no immediate plans to sell.
Though you’re likely to be preoccupied with picking tiles and comparing paint shades, don’t forget to review your home insurance to ensure that it reflects the new additions. If you don’t, it could invalidate your policy.
How and why does building work affect home insurance?
As the ‘buildings’ aspect of your home insurance policy is based on your home at the point you take out insurance, changing its structure could alter the level of cover and mean that any existing protection may no longer apply.
Say, for instance, you wanted to build a conservatory – you’re essentially adding an extra room to your home, which will need to be insured. And seeing as buildings insurance premiums are partially based on the cost of rebuilding the structure, any renovations that may increase its value need to be accounted for.
Your contents cover could also be invalid if you don’t inform your insurer. For example, if you had your belongings stolen from a recently-built porch your provider doesn’t know about, they may not pay out if you tried to claim.
Home improvements don’t necessarily mean more expensive insurance and certain upgrades may actually lower your premium.
When should I notify my insurer?
If you’re carrying out basic home improvements, like re-decorating, then you don’t need to tell your insurer. But you will need to get in touch with them if you’re fitting a new bathroom or kitchen suite and expect it to increase your home’s rebuild cost or the value of your contents. Loft conversions and extensions will always require you to notify the insurance company.
What do you need to do?
So, how should you go about letting your insurer know you’re looking to make some home improvements? Here are some tips:
• Tell them in advance. Your insurer needs to know about the planned work before it actually gets underway. Give them a call and explain what you plan to do.
• Be clear and honest. Telling a few white lies about the type – or extent – of the renovations will put you at risk of any future claims being denied. So be transparent about what you intend to do and give your insurer as much information as possible.
• Increase buildings cover. If the renovation is predicted to add value to your home then the ‘sum insured’ will need to increase. But other projects may warrant increasing cover too, such as if you’re fitting a new kitchen and need to insure any expensive fixtures.
• Consider accidental damage. The likelihood of accidents occurring naturally increases when the work is being carried out, so think about adding accidental damage to your policy if you haven’t got it already.
• Ask about a re-valuation. You may need to organise for a new valuation of your home to be carried out after the work is complete – ask your insurer if they think it’s necessary.
• Inform your insurer about security. If you’ve changed your security measures (i.e. if you’ve fitted new alarms, changed locks or installed CCTV) then tell your insurer. Ramping up efforts to keep your home safe and secure could lead to cheaper insurance.
Home insurance from Zurich
Is it almost time to renew your home insurance policy?
Whether you’d like to renew you contents or buildings cover, or both, Zurich’s home insurance features a comprehensive range of benefits as standard. You can also tailor your insurance by choosing from a range of extras, such as personal possessions, legal expenses and accidental damage.
Ensuring you have quality cover in place will give you peace of mind that, should anything happen, your home and all of your precious belongings within it are well protected.