Home insurance

Will home improvements
affect my home
insurance?

Spring, summer and autumn are home improvements seasons, but did you know that certain work might affect your home insurance?

If you’re considering converting your loft space or putting in a new bathroom, your home insurance may not be front of mind.

But some home improvements could invalidate your policy if you do not tell your insurer.

A study* published in 2017 suggested 43% of homeowners had carried out major work on their property in the past five years – but that a similar proportion had not told their insurance company.

So which home improvements could impact your insurance policy?

Building work

Extensions – including conservatories – and loft or basement conversions are generally big (and expensive) undertakings. It’s important your insurer knows your plans well in advance of the work starting. Give at least three weeks’ notice if you can.

Depending on the work you are planning to have done, your insurer may amend the terms of your policy, or cancel your existing cover.

For example, some insurers may come ‘off risk’ for work such as basement conversions, regardless of type or cost.

Among other things, your insurer may consider the cost of the work, how long it will take (and how long the property may be unoccupied while it is carried out), and whether your builders have adequate public liability insurance.

All-in, it is imperative you inform your insurance provider of any plans to carry out significant building work.

When your extension or conversion is complete, bear in mind you may also wish to increase your contents cover if you buy items to furnish the new space.

A new bathroom or kitchen

Fitted units in bathrooms and kitchens are insured under buildings cover (as opposed to contents). 

Generally speaking, you won’t need to inform your home insurance provider if you are having a new bathroom or kitchen installed, but it is wise to check as insurers may have a different approach.  

However, if you are adding a new bathroom, en-suite or wet room, some insurers would need to be informed. This is because ‘number of bathrooms’ is used to help calculate your premium.

Garden makeover

If you’re planning on getting green-fingered this spring or even laying artificial grass – your insurance is unlikely to change. Your insurer won’t normally expect you to tell it about your new shed!

But it will expect to be informed of any significant works, such as the construction of a summer house or changes to existing outbuildings.

So if you’re treating yourself, your insurer will need to know about it.

Double glazing

Swapping your single glazed windows for more modern and efficient doubled glazed windows?

If it’s a case of replacing every window in the house, the upgrades may increase the rebuild cost of your home, so check with your insurer as a precaution.

If you’re only replacing a small window in the bathroom, for instance, there is no need to review your policy.

Ready, steady, revamp

Think of it like this: cosmetic work such as decorating or maintenance will not normally affect your home insurance.

But if the work you’re planning to carry out is likely to significantly increase the rebuild cost or value of your home, you should inform your insurer. Failing to do so could mean a claim would be declined. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

If you are considering breathing new life into your home, take a look at our infographic on the seven home improvements which (typically) deliver the best return.

What now?

If your home insurance is due for renewal, find out more about Zurich home insurance, which includes automatic buildings cover up to £1,000,000 and contents cover up to £100,000.

Sources: 

*http://www.gocompare.com/press-office/2017/06/top-ten-home-improvements/

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This content was first published in March 2018

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