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Extensions - who insures the extension while it's being built?

7 replies

TuttiFrutti · 22/05/2008 12:15

If anyone's recently built an extension, I'd be really interested to hear how you dealt with the insurance.

We are due to start building in 2 weeks time. Have just contacted our buildings insurer, and they said they wouldn't cover the building works while they're being built. They say they won't consider it under any circumstances, and if we sign the contract saying we insure the building works, they will automatically cancel our house insurance!

But the builder says it's really difficult for him to get insurance, and normally the client does this. Who is right?

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weblette · 22/05/2008 12:21

We're going through building work too and have had to arrange our own coverage. An internet search on renovation insurance should pull up a few companies for you. If you're staying on site that will help lower the premium. We went with DMS Self Build - very straightforward to organise.

TuttiFrutti · 22/05/2008 13:12

Thanks weblette - i hadn't realised there were specialist insurance companies who did this. I'll have a look on the internet.

Has anyone else arranged insurance of the building works through their existing buildings insurance? Or got the builder to insure?

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cmotdibbler · 22/05/2008 21:21

Are you using a surveyor ? They should be able to advise you on this.

DH (who is a chartered insurer and deals with property claims) says that its not a good sign that the builder doesn't have cover, as its a very standard policy that he should have in place as a standard thing. It might be that his premium would be high as he's had to claim before.

Some household policies will cover it, if you are with a company that is super inclusive, such as Hiscox, but they are the exception.

TuttiFrutti · 22/05/2008 21:59

We are with Hiscox, and they won't cover it! AA, our insurance brokers, told me that some insurers just won't touch it with a bargepole and others will do it, but only under special terms and condtions.

Interesting what your dh says about the builder. Our builder has public liability insurance (so if his bricklayer drops a brick on our neighbour's head we'd be covered), but says it would be difficult for him to get buildings cover for an extension - apparently it's easy for a completely new building, but not for something added to an existing house.

This must happen all the time, surely? Do lots of people just not bother getting insurance? Or not realise they haven't got any?

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cmotdibbler · 23/05/2008 08:26

It was only a guess that Hiscox might - he used to work for them, and our house insurance even covered us for kidnap and retrieval from abroad.

Although he doesn't do domestic anymore, he used to, and is certain that it is part of the contractors responsibility to cover it, especially as anything arising from the building work wouldn't be covered by your house insurance - so if he caused a fire in the extension that then spread to the house, none of it would be covered.

But your surveyor/architect/project manager would be able to advise you better.

oldcrock · 24/05/2008 19:09

My dp (who is a chartered builder!) says that the contractor should definitely have his own insurance to cover the building works, under a "Contractors - All Risks" policy. If he doesn't this, he's not much of a contractor apparently! Perhaps you should re-consider using this person?

spudcounter · 24/05/2008 21:15

I checked with our builder (we are currently having an extension built) and he said he was fully covered. One good thing is that we're having it built under a 'buildings notice' which essentially means we make it up as we go along rather than having detailed surveyor's specs that the builder has to build to. In practice this means that the 'buildings officer' from the council comes to check every few weeks, and our builder runs past him what he intends to do (a sort of double check if you like). The buildings officer has no vested interest in cutting corners..indeed, I'm sure it would be more tha his job's worth to pass something that wasn't safe.

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