Get in touch with us now

What is Renovation Insurance?

Renovation insurance is a type of insurance that helps protect you and your home during a renovation project. It can help cover the cost of damages that occur during the renovation process and any injuries that occur to you or your family.

If you are renovating or extending your current home, your home insurer will most likely reduce cover or remove it altogether. As a result, you may need to take out a specialist works insurance policy that will cover the existing home, building works, all the materials, and property owners’ liability.

Why should you consider renovation and extension insurance?

  • Things might go wrong during the building works, and your house may become structurally unstable, exposed to the elements, or more vulnerable to theft.
  • Your current home insurance policy will not give you the protection you need, if any.
  • Stay in control of the process, and don’t rely on the builder’s policy, which will leave you with gaps in coverage.
  • Protect your investment. If something goes wrong with the building works, you want it rectified immediately and the funds released to rectify any damage.

Most popular policy benefits:

  • One insurance policy for your home and your building works.
  • Your existing structure is insured against loss and damage.
  • The building works are covered if they are damaged, for example, by escaping water or fire.
  • Property owners’ liability is insured during the construction period, e.g. a roof tile falls and hits a passer-by.
  • Materials you supply to the contractor insured in transit to and from your home.
  • Offsite storage up to £100,000. For example, kitchen and bathroom units, flooring, carpets, and curtains.

Get a quote now

Your name(Required)

Why do renovations require specialist insurance?

Renovations require specialist insurance because they present a higher risk than a standard home. There is usually more work involved, which can increase the chances of something going wrong.

For example, if a lot of work is being done on the roof, there is a greater risk of something falling and injuring someone. Specialist insurance covers this increased risk and protects the people carrying out the work.

Why choose Stanhope for your renovation insurance?

Stanhope is part of Stanhope Cooper, an award-winning, family-run business, based in London and Hampshire. Stanhope is a leading provider of niche and specialist insurance to the UK home insurance market, voted as High Net Worth Insurance Broker of the Year 2018 at the UK Broker Awards (Insurance Age). We focus on providing solutions that fall outside the standard UK home insurance norms, including high-value home and home contents insurance. 

We provide customers with a bespoke renovation insurance solution that fits their unique needs. Our expert team is dedicated to providing exceptional levels of customer service and wants all our customers to know that they have the right high-value home and contents insurance policy in place at the right price for their specific set of circumstances.

Renovation Insurance FAQs

My builder says he has insurance for the project. Will this cover me?

Not adequately. Your builder’s policy will not cover your existing structure and it will not be able to provide cover for specific perils such as flood, storm or subsidence.

A Builder’s insurance policy may well have exclusions and limits which will compromise the safety of your property. A classic scenario is an application of heat (using a blowtorch) exclusion, which means that if a fire were to break out because of the building works, e.g. a rear extension, then the cost to repair this damage would be excluded. You would have to foot the bill and then undertake costly and potentially lengthy legal proceedings against the builder, meanwhile your renovation work is put on hold and additional costs start to escalate.

Just because your builder has some insurance does not mean it will cover you for any problems that could occur with your specific project or that their insurers will pay. Damage may occur to your home that is not the result of the builder’s negligence even though it is still caused by the renovations – for example, a wall cracking as an old extension is demolished. In this situation, the builders have not done anything wrong, so their insurance will not cover the resulting damage.

Although your builder’s liability policy should cover damage to the structure or works that results from his negligence, it will not cover things like storm or theft damage, subsidence, flood, malicious damage and so on. Your home insurance should continue to cover these kinds of things – if they have specifically agreed to, but most will not if they are not advised or have excluded such damage if you have told them.

Will my home insurance cover me during the renovation project?

If your contractor causes damage to the building, accidentally or not, your normal home insurance will not cover you.

In fact, unless you have told your buildings insurer that the project is taking place, and they have agreed to provide ongoing full cover, you are unlikely to be able to claim successfully for anything. Failing to disclose a building project would be considered non-disclosure of a material fact, and would entitle the buildings insurer to decline a claim. Even if you do tell them about the project, and they are willing to give you some ongoing cover, they will almost certainly exclude damage caused by the contractor and damage arising from the works.

Can you insure self build projects?

We can insure a self managed project – where the property owner is managing a series of contractors, but not undertaking the works with his/her own hands

We cannot insure pure self-build projects – where the property owner is physically undertaking the work, whether this includes additional labour sourced elsewhere or not.

With a self-managed project, in addition to the standard risk information requested on our proposal form we also need to know:

  • What project management experience the self-builder has.
  • Who is responsible for health and safety on site?
  • Whether the CDM regulations apply?

If it transpires that a self-builder has limited experience, and has not adequately considered the H&S implications and CDM regulations, then we may decline the risk.

What is party wall insurance and do I need it?

Party Wall Insurance (also referred to as non-negligent, 21.2.1 or 6.5.1 insurance – it’s all the same thing) is a type of liability cover which is designed to meet a renovator’s obligations and liabilities under the Party Wall Act. 

The Act imposes a ‘strict liability’ on renovators for certain heads of structural damage to neighbouring property stemming from the works. Because the liability is strict, it is not necessary for the neighbour to demonstrate negligence. Because of this, it is not possible to rely exclusively on a contractor’s liability insurance to cover damage to neighbouring property. 

In a loss situation, the relevant insurers will establish first and foremost, whether negligence has been present, and this will dictate which policy deals with the claim. Where negligence is present, then the contractor’s liability insurers will be on the hook. Where there is no demonstrable negligence, the party wall insurer will take the claim forward. There are certain key exclusions:

  • Damage which is the result of negligence
  • Damage which can be reasonably foreseen to be inevitable
  • Damage resulting from defective design/materials

In addition to protecting third party property from structural damage, the cover extends to include damage to areas of the policyholder’s own property not being worked on.

This is a risky class of business to write. We see a disproportionately high volume of claims under this head of cover. In addition, the underwriting is technical and complex. With this in mind, it is essential that we are provided with thorough risk information. If this guidance is not followed, then the quotation process is likely to be long and frustrating for all involved, and the terms are likely to be less favourable.

This cover is available whether or not the works in question are notifiable under the Party Wall Act, and whether or not there are actual party walls. It is sufficient that there are structures in the vicinity of the works which are at risk.

What is a JCT contract?

The JCT suite of contracts are well understood, and frequently utilised set of ‘off the shelf’ contract terms which manage the relationship between a contractor and the employer (i.e.; the renovator/property owner). Within these contracts, there are clauses dealing with insurance. Our product has been designed to dovetail with the requirements of the JCT contract, and in particular, we are able to offer ‘joint names’ insurance for existing structure and works.

The joint names requirement is a feature of the JCT suite. It requires that both the contractor and the employer are named policyholders on not just the contract works insurance, but also the buildings insurance. Noting the contractor as a joint insured precludes the insurer from subrogating against the contractor in the event that he negligently damaged the buildings or the works. The standard property market will not offer this cover. Where joint names requirement exists under contract, a renovator will need to purchase specialist cover of the type we offer to avoid serious difficulties at claim time.

There are various forms of this contract:

  • JCT Homeowner – the most basic form. Suitable for small, straightforward projects
  • JCT Minor Building Works – Suitable for larger projects, but where the works remain relatively straightforward
  • JCT Intermediate – for larger, more complex projects
  • JCT Standard – able to cope with massive developments. Rarely used on all but the largest of domestic projects

There are various insurance options. We will offer advice around which options are appropriate for any given project.

What if I get the cost of the project wrong on my quote?

Like all material damage policies, Renovation Underwriting policies are subject to the condition of average. If the sums insured are significantly understated, then the condition of average will apply.

A policy does include automatic uplift under both the buildings and works heads of cover. If the disclosure of sums insured at inception can be shown to have been reasonably and fairly estimated, then the policyholder will benefit from this protection in the event of a claim – if it transpires that the sums insured have been accidentally understated.

For larger projects, particularly when high-end fit outs will occur, it is often not possible to accurately estimate the final spend. In these circumstances, we can issue the cover on a declaration basis.

If you become aware that a project is costing significantly more than anticipated, please let us know. We can increase the works sum insured by endorsement at any time.

What happens if my project overruns?

A specialist renovation insurance product is a non-renewable, single period package which is designed to offer cover for the duration of the works. Usually, we will offer a contract term based on the projected duration of the project. Our policies can be purchased for as little as three months, of for multiple years in one hit.

In the event that the project duration is underestimated (and this happens a good 85% of the time) we are able to extend the policy. We can extend multiple times, but please be aware that we will eventually apply administration fees if we find ourselves extending over and over again. It is important to be realistic about the time it is going to take to achieve practical completion on a project before the works start, to avoid excess stress and additional insurance admin fees.