At Home With Sarah Beeny

Protect Your Dream – Ensure You’re Insured!

beeny article Building or renovating your dream home – don’t let it turn into a nightmare by not having the right insurance in place.

Whether you are looking to build a new home from scratch, renovate a property or make improvements to your current property, make sure you speak to a professional self-build insurance specialist to help ensure all your needs are met, and you have appropriate cover for your project. Remember, if you’re self-building, you will need different levels of cover depending on whether you are looking to live in the house on completion or will be looking to rent or sell it. With over 12,000 self-build projects undertaken in the UK each year – this article looks at the different elements you should look for in your insurance policy.

Self-build projects take significant time, planning and money to complete and so, in the words of the Scouts – always be prepared! No one wants to think about the worst happening, but by having the right insurance cover in place you will be able to ensure your project remains protected should disaster strike.

Self-build projects take significant time, planning and money. To quote Cervantes, ‘Forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared is half the victory’. No one wants to think about the worst happening, but having appropriate insurance cover will ensure your project remains protected, should the worst happen.

The life cycle of a self-build project comprises a number of stages, and your insurance needs are likely to change as you move through them. First, we look at the key stages in a project, then in detail at your likely insurance needs.

The primary risks your self-build cover should protect against include:

Injury to members of the public

Whether passers-by, visitors to the site or even a trespasser, it is your responsibility to have Public Liability cover in place should any members of the public be injured while on your site.

Injury to workers on site

You also have responsibilities for workers that you employ on the site and must have employer’s liability insurance in case these workers are injured during the course of their work on site. This is a legal requirement - not an optional extra.

Personal accident

protect yourself should you sustain a permanent disability on site, such as loss of limb or loss of sight.

Personal belongings

Are you storing any of your belongings on site whilst you complete your build? If so, make sure these are covered too.

Theft of tools or plant from the site

Whether these are owned by you or have been hired-in, they can be expensive to replace. You will of course be expected to maintain a high level of site security to prevent and deter would -be thieves.

Contracts Works cover

Contract Works cover protects the property whilst under construction including materials on site. Accidental damage, storm damage, vandalism, flooding and fire are all risks to also be aware of when building works are underway.

Legal Disputes

Make sure you have protection against any potential legal costs arising from contractual disputes between you and your contractor, utility companies, and the removal of squatters from site, during the course of the build.

Common Misconceptions

Many people assume that if they have builders or contractors on site, their insurance will cover the project. This is not the case. A contractor’s Public Liability insurance protects him from any claims of negligence in the work done; it does not however cover your property in the event of storms, fire or theft, or should visitors be injured whilst on site.

Another common misconception involves conversions, renovations or extensions where homeowners assume their current home insurance is sufficient. This is not always the case, and many home policies specifically exclude any alternations and will not pay out on properties under development.

As your project draws to a close, you will need to consider a buildings and contents policy. Some policies will automatically convert into a standard buildings policy for the remainder of your policy term, should you complete the build in advance of the policy expiry date.

Top Tips

Full cover

selfbuild logoMake sure you have comprehensive cover to include public liability, employers liability, building works, legal costs, on site temporary structures and machinery/tools whether hired-in or owned

Sooner rather than later

Get cover in place as soon as you have a plot and have applied for planning permission, as from this point forward you will be liable for any damage, loss or injury;

Planning permission

You need to have started the process of applying for planning permission in order to qualify for a self-build policy. Plots with no development work or planning permission will not be covered by a self-build policy;

Extend your cover

Make sure you extend your cover if you are not going to complete your project in the policy timeframe;

Check you're covered

Don’t assume any existing insurance policies that you or your contractors have will automatically cover the project, and always check your policy wording and levels of cover to avoid any surprises; Contact SelfBuild Insurance today to speak to one of our helpful team members to gain peace of mind that your project is in safe hands. Our policies are aimed at providing you with the cover you need, with added flexibility to be modified and extended if required.