5 things you should know about insurance when renovating

So you’ve finally decided to re-do the bathroom or put in your dream kitchen? Before you or your builder pick up the tools, it’s important to get your facts straight about what your insurance can cover if something goes wrong. Having the right information can even help you to avoid any mishaps or dramas.

1. Check your policy to see what you’re covered for

Whether you’re doing a small DIY project or scoping out a larger job with a builder, the extent of your coverage can differ from insurer to insurer. That’s why before you start the project, it’s important to have a read through your Product Disclosure Statement. If your insurer doesn’t cover your renovation, don’t fret – you might be able to get the cover you need through contractors’ and builders’ insurance.

2. Builders’ and contractors’ insurance may cover your renovation

Before starting the project, have a chat with your builder to see if their insurance covers the whole structure or just the part they’re working on. If they only have partial cover, it could be worth asking if you could pay them a bit more to upgrade the coverage to include your whole home.

3. Try to minimise the amount of time your property is unoccupied

While you may be able to stay at home during smaller jobs, major projects may require you to move out for an extended period. However, if your home remains unoccupied for more than 60 days, many insurers will place limitations on your home and contents cover, such as higher excesses. Some may even ‘void’ your policy. To keep your insurance valid and reduce the risk of higher costs, work with your builder to plan major works in a way that keeps the amount of time your home is unoccupied to a minimum.

4. Secure your home by making it look more ‘lived-in’

With walls coming down, tarpaulins in place and ladders lying around, burglars may be tempted by the worksite that is your home, so make sure it’s secure and looks as lived-in as possible. Consider putting up a security fence, leaving on lights and checking your letterbox regularly to help deter thieves from entering. Store any valuables in a secure container or move them somewhere safe off-site while the renovation is happening.

5. Update your policy to include your new renovations

After the renovation is finished and you’ve popped the champagne, contact your insurer to update your home and contents policy. If you were to accidentally damage your new marble bench, or your new floor-to-ceiling window were to get smashed, it’s good to know you’re covered.

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Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before making a decision about this insurance. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.