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Home makeover? What your insurer needs to know

Are you planning to revamp your home this year? Upgrading the kitchen, adding an en suite or converting your loft can all add value to your home when you come to sell.

Or you might not have any intention of putting your home on the market – maybe you just want to make it a more comfortable, practical and inviting space to live in?

A study, cited by the Independent, found the number of people opting to improve their existing home rather than up-sticks increased from 3% to 15% between 2013 and 2018.

Telling your home insurance provider

Whatever your motive, make sure you tell your home insurance provider about it. If you added a conservatory to your home, for example, but didn't let the insurance company know, your policy may become invalid.

While smaller, cosmetic tweaks to your home are unlikely to affect your cover, most insurers will want to be kept in the loop about larger projects – whether you're taking it on yourself or leaving it to the professionals. Here's why...

Tweaking your cover

As Compare the Market explains, a big renovation project – like an extension or loft conversion – is likely to increase the value of your home and, therefore, the cost to rebuild it if it was damaged beyond repair. That makes it a bigger risk for insurers, so your premium is likely to increase as a result.

If you need help calculating the rebuild cost you can use this handy calculator on the Association of British Insurers' website.

If you're planning to leave your home while the work is being done, you'll need to tell your insurer, too. Most providers will insure an unoccupied home for up to 30 days as standard, but longer periods will require additional cover.

Additional insurance

Depending on the nature of the work, you might want to take out extra cover, like accidental damage. This will help protect you if you accidentally damage the building or your belongings while carrying out the work.

Legal protection could also come in handy if you have an issue with the contractor you've hired. You could get your money back if, say, they went bust after failing to finish the job.

Our verdict

Our top piece of advice would be to get in touch with your insurer if you're not sure whether the work will impact your cover. Just use your common sense: your insurer won't need to know you're painting a room or changing door handles, but you should tell them about work that will significantly change your home's look, boost its value or alter the structure of the building.

Always get in touch with your insurer before the work is carried out, to give them time to assess the risk to the property and adjust your premium.

If your home insurance policy is up for renewal, find out how much you could save with cover from Hastings Direct. Get a quote today!

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