With the housing market currently in the doldrums and the cost of moving house running into several tens of thousands of pounds, it is hardly surprising that many people are choosing to spend the money instead on improving their current home by building an extension. There is nothing new in this popular practice, of course, but there is one area which homeowners have previously overlooked when extending their property – extension insurance plugs that gap and could help to save homeowners many more thousands of pounds in unwelcome loss, damage, claims and expense.
The simple fact is that, for many people, getting an extension added to the house is a question of securing the relevant planning permission, getting the builders in and paying for the work at the end of the day. The need for insurance to cover some potentially significant risks during the building works and to cover loss or damage to both the new extension and the existing structure of the house, is totally overlooked.
It could be that many homeowners wrongly believe that their standard home insurance policy will cover the risks encountered during the building of an extension. This is not generally the case, however, since there are a number of areas that would not be covered by such standard policies and for which specialist insurance – extension insurance – will be necessary. UKinsuranceNET have a range of unique policies designed to provide renovation or conversion insurance. This combined with our extensive range of landlord insurance policies make them market leaders in this specialist area.
The need for extension insurance includes, but is not limited to, the need to cover the legal responsibility that you as the homeowner have towards anyone doing work on your home, their employees and towards members of the public. For example, if anyone you employ to put up the extension has an accident and is injured while working on your house, you could be held liable and sued for damages. Clearly, these could run into many thousands of pounds. Extension insurance packages are available, therefore, to cover you against such risks and pay any damages that might be awarded. Similarly, the building works or plant and machinery used during the building of the extension could cause damage to a neighbour’s property. Again, you could be held liable and extension insurance would offer protection against such public liability claims.
In addition to these kinds of risks, there is a need to insure both the extension work in progress and the materials being used in the works. During construction, these would not be included in your normal buildings insurance and, so, separate extension insurance would be required to cover against their theft, loss, or damage or the reinstatement of work already completed. If the building of your extension should lead to some structural damage to your existing building it is unlikely that such damage would be covered by your standard buildings insurance. Most extension insurance packages would ensure that any such risk is adequately covered.
For more major extensions, you might have taken the precaution of ensuring that the contractual relationship between you and your builders was governed by the construction industry’s model Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) agreement covering minor works. Whether it is or not, however, you cannot rule out the possibility of some contractual dispute leading not only to costly delays but expensive legal consultation and advice. Most home extension insurance packages include provision for the reimbursement of any such legal expenses.
As can be seen, therefore, there are many areas in which extension insurance can cover the special and particular range of risks that lie generally beyond the scope of standard home insurance policies. Since the particular combination of risks that you will need to be covered in your own home extension calls for specialist knowledge of the insurance products available, it could prove most helpful to consult an insurance adviser about your specific extension insurance needs.
In addition to the above we have also found that building a significant extension, converting or renovating a property can result in a property becoming unoccupied. This would require unoccupied insurance we have a range of unoccupied property insurance policies that suit this purpose.
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