Insurance

insurance against extension accidents

Anyone carrying out major work to their home would be a fool to ignore the need for adequate insurance. Whatever your project, make sure you don’t ignore the need for specialist self build, renovation or extension insurance. It’s unlikely that any works undertaken as part of an extension or renovation project will be covered by your existing home insurance policy. Your home is quite likely to be the single biggest investment in your life and to risk it could leave you in a desperate situation, especially if you consider that just one mishap could leave your project in dire circumstances.

Will my Main Contractor Have Insurance?
There’s no guarantee that your builder/main contractor will have insurance — you’d be surprised at just how many builders and tradespeople don’t carry any/or adequate insurance for the work they do, especially if they work ‘cash-in-hand’.

Those carrying out a project by using a builder with a single contract may feel that, as the builder has their own insurance policy, there is no need to go to the expense of a policy in their own name. They might be right, but they should check the details of the builder’s policy to firstly make sure that it’s current and secondly, that it is sufficient to cover for any eventuality.

What about loss or damage to fittings that the builder is supplying and you have paid for? If the builder is unable to claim for whatever reason, you will lose out.

What Happens if I use Subcontractors?
If you are building using subcontractors or direct labour, then technically you are seen to be the main contractor and you are deemed to be employing all of the people working on the site. Even if the subcontractors do carry professional insurance, the chances are that if they have an accident, they will see your insurance as the best option for recompense and if you haven’t got it, then you’ll be in trouble.

What Should a Self Build Policy Cover?
A self build site insurance policy must contain the following:

    Contractors All Risk: This element of the insurance policy provides cover for general mishaps such as fire, theft, vandalism, flood and storm damage

    Employers’ Liability: Anybody working on your site is deemed to be an ‘employee’ for insurance purposes and, as such, as the main contractor you are liable for their welfare and for any injury, loss or death while they are working for you

    Public Liability: Damage, injury or loss that is suffered by third parties or members of the public is covered by this section. Those who own land which they intend to eventually develop would be well-advised to have a policy limited to public liability in place. Most of the self build insurance specialists will be able to arrange this, with it converting to a full site insurance policy upon commencement of work. The public liability section of a self build site insurance policy would also cover for damage to the property or injury to persons outside the site, if directly caused by the activities of the site

    Legal Expenses Insurance: Any legal expenses within the policy will normally be included by the dedicated self build insurance providers but, in other cases, can be bolted on as additional cover for action taken against the self builder by others or for the need to take action against third parties

Where Can I Buy Insurance for my Project?
Do be careful about going to your usual High Street broker, as they’ll probably think that you need the same sort of policy as a builder or developer — and that’s not the case. There are dedicated self build insurance providers, with the premium costs being very much less than the standard prices which builders have to pay each year.

Most insurers feel better about you using builders under a JCT contract (Joint Contracts Tribunal) – although, given the large number of subtly different JCT contracts, you need to be clear about which one you’re using – but it is down to the individual underwriters to take a view on each case.