Insuring your home extension

Extending your home can expand your space and add value to your property. Find out how to make sure your home has the right cover when you’re building an extension.

Eve Powell
Eve Powell
Updated 2 December 2021  | 3 mins read

Renovating your home

Improving your home and doing renovations like adding an extension can help provide the space you need without the stress and costs of moving.

Even making small home improvements, like fitting a new bathroom, can help enhance your home and how you enjoy it.

But while renovations on a bigger scale can deliver a much bigger transformation, they also need more consideration and planning, and are likely to impact your home insurance.

Key points

  • You need to tell your insurer before you start any major home renovations
  • Most standard home insurance policies won’t cover building work because claims are more likely
  • Separate specialist insurance can provide cover to protect your home during renovations
  • Your home insurance premiums might go up if your extension makes your rebuild costs higher

What to consider when you’re building a home extension

Whether you’re extending upwards, outwards or even down into the basement, structural work needs careful planning.

To begin with, you’ll have to produce detailed plans and make sure you’ve got planning permission. And you’ll need to choose your contractors carefully.

Your home insurer is unlikely to cover any work that your contractor carries out that is below standard or dangerous.

It’s also important to make sure your home’s insured while the work’s being done and that you have the right level of cover once the renovations are finished.

How does building an extension affect my home insurance?

Building an extension increases the number of risks your home is exposed to, which makes it more likely you’ll need to make a claim.

For this reason, standard home insurance providers are less likely to provide cover during building work or they will charge more.

There are two main types of risk associated with renovation projects:

Structural risks

Knocking down walls could cause unexpected accidents or damage, and structural work might mean your home’s exposed to the elements for long periods of time which could also damage your property.

Security risks

During building work your home may be less secure. For example, you may need to temporarily move out, scaffolding might make intruder access easier, tradespeople may be coming and going, and there’s potential for windows and doors to be left open.

Remember that having an extension is likely to increase how much it would cost to rebuild your home from scratch - this may increase the amount of home insurance cover you need.

Do I need to tell my insurance provider about my extension?

Yes, you’ll need to make your insurer aware of the work you’re doing.

If your insurance provider doesn't know about your building work and your plans for adding an extension, this may invalidate your policy.

By contacting your insurer, you can check if your home will be covered and find out whether you’ll need additional or specialist cover for it to be fully protected.

When do I need to contact my insurance provider?

You need to contact your insurer before the building work starts to check whether it could invalidate your policy.

Let your insurer know when you’re in the planning stage and be very clear about the work you’ll be having done. If plans change along the way, make sure you keep them informed.

They'll be able to explain the type of insurance you’ll need and whether you’ll be covered for the building work or if you’ll need specialist insurance during this period.

Your provider can also help update your home insurance once the extension’s finished - making sure you’ve got the right level of cover and that it reflects the new rebuild value of your home.

Does my builder cover the work?

Even if the builder has insurance, your building work and home may not be fully protected - so it’s important to take out your own cover.

Check your builder has valid insurance before they start work and ask for proof of:

Public liability insurance - to cover costs if the builder or their work causes someone to be hurt, or if someone’s property was to get damaged as a result of your building work.

Employers’ liability insurance - to cover you and the builder if someone were to get hurt while they were working on your building project.

Will home insurance cover me during the work?

You’ll need to check with your insurer as home insurance policies will vary in what they cover as standard, and many won’t include large building projects like extensions.

Due to the risks involved, insurance providers may not be prepared to cover your home while building work is going on.

However, there are several specialist providers you can use who offer insurance specifically designed for building and renovation work.

I have materials on site - are these covered?

As most standard home insurance policies won’t cover major renovations, building materials are unlikely to be covered by your home insurance.

You’ll usually need to have separate cover for theft of contents and any building materials or equipment left on site.

Speak to your insurer first, to see if they can cover this. If they can’t, you can typically buy this cover as part of specialist renovation insurance.

What’s home renovation insurance?

If you’re having major work done - for example, something structural that’s more than just fitting a new bathroom or kitchen - it’s likely you’ll need specific insurance.

Home renovation insurance is an example of this and typically includes:

  • Damage to the existing structure of the property
  • Public liability insurance
  • Malicious damage
  • Theft of building materials or equipment on site
  • Cover for fire, earthquake or explosion
  • Protection when your building is unoccupied

It’s a good idea to speak to your home insurance provider first, and to make sure you compare policies and check exclusions before you buy any new additional cover.

Will having an extension increase my home insurance premium?

Yes, this is likely. Once your home extension is finished, your home will be bigger and so its rebuild cost is also likely to have increased in value.

Plus, to give the final finishing touches to your new space you’ll probably need to buy new furniture, fixtures and fittings.

All of this means the value of your home and its contents are likely to have increased and you’ll typically need to pay a higher premium to cover this.

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