Your insurer needs to know if you’re doing any work that alters the structure of your home. For example, extensions or loft conversions. This is because it could affect your home’s value. Your home is also vulnerable to theft or damage while the building work is going on.
You don’t need to tell your insurer if you’re making cosmetic changes, like replacing your carpets.
Here are the jobs you need to tell your insurer about.
What jobs do I need to tell my insurer about?
You need to tell your insurer if you’re:
- Extending a room
- Adding a conservatory
- Doing a loft conversion
- Replacing a roof
- Installing double-glazing
- Adding a porch
- Adding a summerhouse
- Adding a pool
Why do I need to tell my insurer about building work that changes my home’s structure?
Changing the structure of your home could affect its value. Your insurer might need to re-evaluate your insurance cover, which could result in higher home insurance costs.
Your home is also more vulnerable to damage if you’re having building work done. It’s also likely that you’ll have to move out temporarily, which leaves your home vulnerable to criminals.
Not telling your insurer about having major building work done could invalidate your cover.
When you tell your insurer, it might charge you an admin fee for changing your policy. This fee is to reflect any extra work it has to do, such as re-evaluating your risk and creating a new policy.
If there’s building work going on while you’re getting a home insurance quote
When you get a home insurance quote with us, we’ll ask you whether you agree or disagree with the following statement “there is no building work in progress”.
When you select an insurer they might ask more questions about the building work you’re having done. This could affect your insurance price or your ability to get a quote.
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Are accidents relating to DIY covered on a standard home insurance policy?
No, a standard home insurance policy doesn't cover you if something goes wrong with a DIY project. By DIY, we mean cosmetic jobs like putting up shelves or changing your carpet.
To cover this, you need an accidental damage add-on. You can add this to your buildings and contents insurance policy. This covers structural damage to your home due to an accident, for example damage to your walls, windows or ceiling. Your contents, for example your sofa or your TV, should also be protected.
Genuine mishaps such as putting your foot through the ceiling or bursting a water pipe while putting up a picture should be covered under an accidental damage policy.
You’re also covered under your home emergency policy, if you have this. But this type of cover only covers the cost of calling out the tradesperson to fix the issue, not the damage. You can use your buildings or contents insurance for this or pay for the repairs yourself.
Your accidental damage policy might not pay out in certain circumstances, for example if you cause damage while doing a job you’re not qualified to do. Unfortunately, watching 10 YouTube tutorials on unblocking a drain doesn’t make you a plumber.
Hire a tradesperson with liability insurance to help you with the job if you don’t think you can do it.
If you’re looking to buy a new home insurance policy, always check the levels of cover on offer, especially if you’re about to undergo a new DIY project.
If you have a policy you’re happy with, contact your insurer to check what you’re covered for. If you don’t have accidental damage you might be able to pay a little extra to have this added to the policy. This could be a lot cheaper than having to pay for repairs yourself if something goes wrong.
Other ways to protect my home during DIY/building work
You can protect yourself and your home during building work by:
- Buying contents insurance. It doesn't protect your building but does protect your personal possessions. For example, if they’re damaged or go missing during building work.
- Adding legal protection if you plan on making big structural changes. This can help with any legal disputes that might come up. For example, if your neighbours contest the building work, even if you made them aware of it. Legal protection covers the costs if you end up getting into civil disputes that need to be settled in court.
- Ensuring your builder has liability insurance. This is important as it can cover any resulting damages, including any damage to your neighbours' properties.
What jobs don’t I need to let my insurer know about?
You don’t need to let your insurer know about any basic home DIY jobs that are considered cosmetic. This includes:
- Replacing your carpets
- Putting up shelves
- Re-tiling a bathroom
- Anything cosmetic in the garden, such as paving, general gardening and even putting up a shed.
If you’re installing a security system or better locks, it’s worth letting your insurer know. As it’s increasing your home’s security, your risk level is lower and you could see cheaper insurance costs.