Make sure you have the right cover is in place.
If you’re one of the many thousands of people who are considering turning their homes into building sites as you undertake extensive, renovation, refurbishment or the extension of your home, you need to be aware that your existing home insurance policy is highly unlikely to provide you with the cover needed to protect what is probably your most valuable asset.
Where major building works are taking place, the delivery of plant, machinery and materials, hazardous processes involving the application of heat, the creation of debris and disruption and access to your property by an increased number of individuals, your home is extremely vulnerable.
However, where the structure and contents of your home are concerned then some insurers will simply withdraw cover completely, even where your current insurer agrees to continue cover it’s likely to be on a significantly reduced and highly restricted basis.
To complicate matters further, employing a professional team to plan, oversee and execute your project will bring with it a range of contractual obligations which you, as the homeowner, will need to address.
Architects tend to work with ‘off the shelf’ Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) contracts which offer a good template for dealing with all aspects of the works being carried out and the relationship between the builder and homeowner. So, under JCT contract conditions, you may be obliged to insure in ‘joint names’ with your chosen contractor, both in respect of the existing structure of your home and the works being undertaken.
In these circumstances your existing home insurer loses its right to pursue your contractor to recover the cost of any claim(s) they have to pay, even where the contractor has been negligent. For this reason insurers can be very reluctant to maintain insurance on a joint names basis and will reduce the extent of your cover, potentially putting you in breach of your obligations under the JCT contract.
At the same time, your existing insurer won’t normally cover the actual work being undertaken leaving your contractor to do this. Should your contractor arrange inadequate cover or, in the worst case scenario, not arrange cover at all then, should the worst happen, you will be left exposed. Equally, if the contractor breaches any of the policy conditions its cover might still not respond in the event of a claim.
Clearly, building sites can be dangerous places. If your builder injures a visitor you might think that it is its insurance that will pay. However, the injured visitor is likely to view you, the owner and instigator of the works, and hence the risk, as being responsible and claim against you.
Another risk is that there could be gaps between the policies and, in the event of a claim, two sets of insurers negotiating over what constitutes the existing structure of your home and what the contract works, is likely to complicate the position still further.
The answer is to take out the right cover for the job. At Green Park Insurance Services we can provide a single, unified cover that eliminates the risk of grey areas and cover overlaps and ensures your property and liability exposures are protected and that you have the cover you need against your contractual obligations too.
Our insurers policy have been designed to fit the requirements of standard JCT contracts – where required it can be written in joint names – providing a tailored, individually underwritten policy on what is termed an ‘All Risks’ basis (which includes theft, malicious and accidental damage and subsidence as standard).
If you’re planning to renovate, refurbish or extend your property, please contact Rachel Ewing on 07557970707 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.