Loft conversions can provide extra space and add value to your home. Read our guide to find out what you’ll need to consider and how to make sure you’re fully insured.
A loft conversion is when the space in your loft or attic is transformed to give you another useable area in your home.
It usually involves a large amount of work to convert loft spaces as well as needing building regulations approval, so you’ll probably require specialist builders.
Often loft conversions are used to provide an extra bedroom with an ensuite bathroom, an office space or storage area, and they can even be used as multi-purpose rooms, too.
If you need more space and can’t extend your home, or you’ve done this already, a loft conversion can be a good way of creating extra living areas.
It can provide you with the space you need without having to go through the stress, cost and upheaval of moving.
Another benefit of doing a loft conversion is that it can also boost the value of your home.
The HomeOwners Alliance estimates that converting your loft can add up to 20% to your home’s value.
Yes, there are several reasons why it can.
Most importantly, you’ll need to let your insurance provider know before you start any building work. Not telling them could invalidate your policy, which means you wouldn’t be able to make a claim if something happened.
Once your loft conversion’s finished, you’ll need to contact your insurance provider again to update your cover and make sure you’re not underinsured.
The increased rebuild value might make your building insurance premiums rise.
And if you’ve had to buy new furniture, fittings and electrical items for your loft conversion, you might also need to increase your contents insurance to make sure these are covered.
Because the risks of building work increase the likelihood of you claiming on your home insurance, some providers won’t cover you while you’re having work done.
If this is the case with your current provider, there are specialist insurers you can use that provide renovation insurance while your building work’s going on.
This will help to protect your home and possessions and can also include cover for things like accidental damage, legal expenses cover and public liability.
You should also check that your builder has public liability insurance and employers’ liability insurance. This will make sure both you and the builder are covered if someone injures themselves or property gets damaged as a result of your building work.
When you’re doing the work yourself you still need to let your insurer know before you start to make sure you don’t invalidate your policy.
Most home insurance policies will only cover renovations like redecoration and DIY, so it’s likely that you’ll either need to extend your policy or take out separate cover to make sure you’re fully insured.
If you’re taking on a large structural project, it’s a good idea to take out self-build insurance - this will cover you and your home while you’re working on your loft conversion.
Some self-build policies include public liability insurance and accidental damage cover and sometimes even a structural warranty to protect your finished project for ten years.
You don’t normally need planning permission when you’re having a loft conversion unless you’re extending the roof space or making it larger, like adding a dormer.
Before you start work it’s best to check with your local planning department to find out what permissions you’ll need.
Even if you don’t need planning permission, you’ll still need to apply for building regulations approval. This is designed to make sure that any work done is structurally sound.
If you live in a semi-detached or terraced property, it’s also likely that you’ll need a party-wall agreement because the work will involve a shared wall.
If your loft conversion has a building regulations completion certificate to show the work’s been approved, you won’t need indemnity insurance.
But if you’ve bought a house with a loft conversion that doesn’t comply to building regulations standards, or you can’t be supplied with a completion certificate, this is something to consider.
Indemnity insurance is designed to cover potential legal costs in case you’re served an enforcement notice by the local authority because you don’t have the certificate.
Yes, it’s important your loft conversion has building regulations approval to make sure it complies with safety standards. But you’ll also need it when you come to sell your home.
While the building works for your loft conversion are happening, they’ll be inspected and approved for building regulations. You’ll be issued with the completion certificate once the work’s finished and meets all the required standards.
Not having a completion certificate can jeopardise your house sale - mortgage lenders may refuse to sign off a mortgage for the property or they might ask for indemnity insurance, or even an inspection by a structural engineer. This may put off potential buyers.
Most lenders will ask you to inform them about significant changes you’re making to the property - so check with your mortgage provider and let them know what building work you’re planning.
Your lender will also require you to have the right level of buildings insurance in place, which is another reason why you’ll need to keep your insurer updated about your loft conversion.
If you’re remortgaging to fund your loft conversion remember this might affect how much you’ll need to pay back and may extend the length of the loan.
If you’re making cosmetic changes to your home like changing the wall colour or fitting a new carpet, you don’t need to let your insurer know.
But if you’re doing any kind of structural work, like knocking two rooms into one, adding an extension to your home or doing a loft conversion, you’ll need to tell your insurer.
This is because structural work increases the risk of claims being made for things like accidental damage and theft.