Renovation is becoming more popular than ever. People are moving house half as many times in their lives and twice as many Brits are now planning to extend their home rather than move house. Renovation, big or small, normally means making structural changes to your home, so it’s important to think carefully about how to protect your home when work is underway. A recent report reveals that the most popular insurance claim for home renovations and extensions is theft of building materials, closely followed by escape of water.
Matt Poll, CEO at Neos, the UK’s first smart home insurance provider, shares his top tips for making your renovation plans are a success.
Make sure you choose the right professional help
Most renovation projects will require some sort of change in structure or an extension to the property, so think about what professional input you need and the best people for the job. Make sure you get quotes from a few contractors, this way you can compare service, standard of work, and cost to get the best for your budget.
Professionals may include an architect who can help to visualise and sketch the plans, a planning specialist who can help you get planning permission when you may otherwise struggle, or a structural engineer who will ensure you don’t damage the building.
It’s important to ensure any contractors you decide to use are fully qualified for the job and have liability insurance where applicable. It’s worth getting a contract signed so that you have the work guarantees in writing and know exactly what you can expect from the work. Hiring a quality contractor will mean you’re less likely to have issues later down the line, so it’s worthwhile doing the research.
Notify your insurer
If you’re having major structural work done to your property you should notify your insurer. It’s unlikely your standard policy will cover your house while renovations are underway, your insurer may be able to extend cover, or you may want to consider taking out a specialist policy. You don’t want any nasty surprises if something goes wrong.
As well as this, your insurance is likely to need updating after the work is complete. Any extra rooms for example will need to be updated on your policy and if you’ve installed a top of the line kitchen, this may require more comprehensive cover.
Smart home technology is a great option to look into when renovating, particularly if you are moving out of your home whilst work takes place and you want to keep an eye on things and make sure the property is safe from fire, leaks and intruders. Some insurers now offer smart home technology as part of your package so it’s worth looking around to see what you can get. Homes are often more easily accessible when building work is being carried out, so a smart security camera is a great way to monitor who is coming and going from the property.
Likewise, if you’re having complex pipework laid, for example a wet room, it’s a good idea to look into some leak sensors. They can be installed in minutes and means the smallest of leaks can be detected, both whilst the work is being carried out and down the line when the pipework might be hidden away behind tiles. If anything is detected then you will be notified so that you can take steps to rectify the issue and avoid a potentially larger problem.