THE DOUBLE whammy of a depressed property market and the ongoing ‘cost of living’ crisis means the nation’s homeowners are opting to renovate, not relocate, a new survey has revealed.
According to research findings from insurance broker, Lycetts, 77% say they are unlikely to sell up, and instead, would invest in their existing homes in the wake of the challenging financial climate.
It is a trend that is reflected across the UK.
“Home improvements can add thousands to their property’s value,” said Lycetts’ James Cuthbertson. However, significant losses risk being incurred if arrangements for adequate insurance cover are not in place, which is why it is crucial to ensure appropriate protection.
“It means the contract you arrange will be on sound footings and it will also mean the insurance costs can be factored into the overall project spend.”
He stressed the importance of a Contract Works insurance policy, which can provide protection for the owner, the contractor, the property for the duration of the works, work in progress, building materials, hired-in plant equipment, liabilities, third parties and also offer optional non-negligence cover.
“Minor improvements, such as plumbing, may be covered by home insurance, but homeowners must inform their insurer of the start and completion dates of the work. If an insurer is unaware and there is a claim, it might not be paid out.
“Structural works require specialist renovation insurance cover, but this varies, so it is important to seek expert advice. Contents cover, for example, may not be included, and this can prove extremely costly if roofs or ceilings collapse destroying valuable possessions.”
Cuthbertson also warned against a common misconception that a contractor’s liability insurance would be sufficient if anything went wrong.
“This is not always the case, so it is vital that buildings insurance is reviewed, and updated where required, to ensure cover is in place for such works. Homeowners need to consider who is covering the property during the works, who is arranging cover on the works themselves and any associated liabilities.
“A specialist renovation works policy normally includes cover if the contractor goes bust, or walks off the job before the renovation is complete, but it’s important to check. A half-renovated home may be uninhabitable, and while insurance cover for the site remains for a certain time, there will be unoccupancy conditions, such as property and security inspections.
“Deciding to stay put and renovate can seem like a simple undertaking, but as can be seen, it’s a complex process, which is why you need to speak with your insurance adviser at the outset.”