Lycetts issues urgent warning over home improvements

An insurance expert is warning property owners who choose to ‘improve not move’ to make sure their homes are not left unprotected.

The cost-of-living crisis, coupled with the rise in house prices this year, has encouraged homeowners to extend and renovate their existing properties, rather than trade up – and this looks set to continue in the wake of soaring mortgage rates.

But John Murphy, of insurance broker Lycetts, has highlighted the danger of building works invalidating policies, leaving homes potentially uninsured.

“It is a common misconception that a contractor’s liability insurance would be sufficient if anything went wrong, but this is not always the case.

“It is essential that buildings insurance is reviewed, and updated where required, to ensure cover is in place for such works. Homeowners need to consider who is covering the property during the works, who is arranging cover on the works themselves and any associated liabilities.

“They should also have adequate cover for potential problems that may arise if neighbours are impacted.”

Mr Murphy advises those planning home improvements to purchase a Contract Works insurance policy.

“This can provide protection for you and your contractor, your home for the duration of the works, work in progress, building materials, hired in plant equipment, liabilities, third parties and optional non-negligence cover.”

Ensuring appropriate protection is in place can be a complex process to navigate, which is why Murphy recommends homeowners contact their broker before appointing a builder.

“It means the contract you arrange will be on sound footings and it will also mean the insurance costs can be factored into the overall project spend,” he added.

“Making adaptations to your home can add thousands to its value, but without adequate cover, you could lose everything you have invested should the worst happen.”

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