Majority of UK home owners undertaking work on their property don’t check insurance

Some 64% of UK home owners renovating their property were unaware that not being properly insured when undertaking building work could put them in breach of the terms of their mortgage, a new poll has found.

In addition, 55% didn’t tell their home insurer when doing structural work to their property, resulting in a potential £2.77 billion of uninsured property in the UK, according to the survey by specialist insurance broker, Insurance Tailors.

It also found that three quarters of respondents didn’t enter into a formal contract with their builder or contractor and over a third didn’t check that their builder had the appropriate insurance, and of those who did check, one in five admitted to not knowing what they were looking at.

‘Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t realise that their home could be uninsured if they fail to tell their insurance company that they are undertaking renovations,’ said Andrew Boldt, managing director of Insurance Tailors.

‘Most insurers will remove cover completely or reduce cover during renovations which is insufficient to meet the minimum required by most mortgage contracts, so it’s important that home owners tell their insurer once they’ve decided to renovate,’ he pointed out.

‘It’s also worrying that the majority of recipients didn’t enter into a formal contract with their builder or check that the builder had the appropriate insurance, leaving them exposed should anything go wrong. The builder would not necessarily be liable for any damage so although it’s rare for things to go wrong, it’s not worth taking a risk with your biggest asset,’ he added.

When it came to claiming for damage to a property during renovation works, the survey found that Londoners had the highest percentage of damage claims, and of those who had had to make a claim, just over half were rejected.

‘There are many reasons for rejected claims. Most mass market insurers will automatically reject a claim if structural works were taking place at the time of the incident and they were not made aware. The most common type of claim for those with proper renovation insurance is for faulty workmanship, proving the importance of choosing quality trades people, and checking the contracts that are in place,’ Boldt explained.

‘In our experience, issues around insurance for a project tend to derive from a lack of knowledge around what is a more complicated area of insurance. If people get advice from insurers and appropriate property professionals before embarking on a project, then these issues can usually be taken care of without difficulty,’ he added.