Could home improvements damage your insurance cover?

Chris Torney / 25 April 2016

Making home improvements without notifying your insurance company could invalidate your home cover. Read our guide to things you need to tell your insurer about.



If you are planning on making improvements or alterations to your home, it makes sense to ensure you have the right level of insurance both during and after the project.

Under certain circumstances, your insurer could well be within its rights to reject claims for the likes of accidental damage, fire and burglary if you failed to let it know you were having work done.

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Keeping your insurer informed

The best approach is to get in touch with your insurance company before you start the work to explain what is happening. The provider will then be able to tell you what you will and won’t be covered for, as well as if you need to pay for extra protection.

Typically, if you are making minor cosmetic changes, such as redecorating, your policy will not need to change. But regardless of what work is planned, it does not hurt to check with your insurer.

When you get in touch, make a record of who you have spoken to and what was said: this could help protect you against any disputes further down the line.

Cover while the work is taking place

You can expect to pay more for insurance if the work brings an extra level of risk – for example if load-bearing walls are being replaced, or if your property is temporarily going to be less secure against burglary. Your insurer is also likely to want confirmation that any tradesmen you employ have their own insurance.

Things you need to consider before making home improvements.

Consider policy extras

It may also be worth paying for optional extras to your home insurance policy, such as accidental damage cover and legal expenses cover. 

The former may protect you if you are undertaking a DIY project (although you should check that the work you are planning would be covered) while legal cover will help meet costs if you have a dispute with a tradesman or contractor.

If a Saga home insurance customer has had up to £20,000 of work carried out that they are not happy with and they have a dispute with a tradesman, they can claim for legal help on their home insurance policy**. 

Find out more about Saga home insurance.

If you move out

If you have to move out of your home while work is being carried out, this could have an impact on your insurance. 

Home policies typically state that properties should not be left unoccupied for more than 30 or 60 days. If this is likely to be the case, you may no longer be insured against issues such as theft or vandalism. One option is to take out a separate, specialist policy that covers your unoccupied home.

How to add value while improving your home.

Once the work has finished

The size of your buildings insurance premiums depend partly on how much your home would cost to rebuild: if your improvement project has increased the rebuild cost of your property, expect the cost of insurance to rise. 

Equally, new kitchen appliances or furnishings, say, could drive up your contents insurance premiums.

However, if the security of your home is increased as a result of the renovations, for example if more robust doors, windows and locks are installed, you could see contents premiums fall.

For more tips and useful information, browse our money articles.

**Available to Saga Home Insurance customers who have the optional legal expenses cover

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.