A guide to Home Insurance during renovations

If you’re starting a renovation, make sure you’ve got the cover you need. Cover during renovations may not actually be part of your current policy. After all, ‘Renovation Insurance’ isn’t a product that GIO offers, but there are other options to learn about that may suit your needs.

Having the right information can help prevent mishaps from becoming a bigger problem.

Are renovations covered by your Home Insurance Policy?

Small jobs & big jobs

Regardless of job size, the extent of coverage you have during a renovation may differ between insurers. With GIO Home Building or Home and Contents Insurance , if you undergo any sort of work on your home you may have to pay more on your policy. This could be a higher excess or paying more on your premium. In some cases, we might have to refuse or reduce the pay on a claim or even cancel the policy if it’s no longer insurable.

Any incident unrelated to the work being done, such as damage from a weather event, may still be covered depending on your policy. Before you start the process, read your PDS so you know what you’re covered for and any limits and exclusions that apply.

If you decide to undergo a renovation be sure to keep the work area safe. You may be at fault if anyone hurts themselves or damages their property because of the works being done. Your GIO Home Insurance policy provides cover for legal liability, but only if the work at the insured address is less than $50,000 – so be aware and plan ahead.

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What about DIY projects?

If you’re going to complete your renovations yourself, the same terms usually apply as if you hired someone else to complete the job. That means Home Insurance probably won’t cover damages caused by the work being done.

You’ll be managing the whole operation, so you’ll be in charge of checking and double-checking all the permits and the paperwork as you go. It may also be a good idea to seek advice from a professional to get a full picture of your responsibilities, or to bring them on as a contractor.

If it’s a large job and something goes wrong, where someone is injured or has their property damaged directly because of your renovations, public liability insurance may cover the expenses. With GIO, individuals can’t take out this insurance, but businesses and sole traders can.

Builders Insurance may cover your renovation

If you have enlisted the help of a professional, their Tradies’ Insurance, also known as contractors’ or Builders’ Insurance, can provide cover to your home as the job gets done. However, you should think about making these enquiries with them before they commence any work.

Double-check that they are properly insured and that their builders’ insurance meets your property needs. If it doesn’t, or if they only have partial cover, it could be worth negotiating to upgrade the coverage to include your whole home. That way, your property may have a kind of ‘home renovation insurance’ to keep you at ease as the walls come down.

Do you need to let your insurance company know?

Yes, you need to tell your home insurance provider before you commence any building works or home renovations.

You need to also tell them when your property undergoes:

  • extra building
  • construction
  • alterations, and
  • major repairs.

If you don’t inform your provider, you may find that, if you need to make a claim for an event that would otherwise be covered, your provider may have to reduce or refuse that claim. So be sure to let them know as soon as practically possible.

If you’re a GIO customer, you can let us know by giving us a call on 13 10 10.

Questions to consider when preparing for your home renovation

Can the renovations cause damage to your existing property?

Think through all possible scenarios when considering possible damage to your property. Is the particular wall load-bearing? Are you working around water services that could cause flooding?

If the answer to any posed question is yes or if you’re unsure, then it’s time to bring in a builder or contractor if you haven’t already – especially if you’re dealing with structural challenges like damp or rot. They can approach these issues in a safe an professional way and should be able to give you advice, and properly estimate how much it will cost.

Should damage to the house occur as a direct result of work being done, a GIO policy may not cover it – so check your builders’ insurance.

Will your home be secure the whole time?

If your house is going to be completely opened by your home renovation process, with walls knocked down and just a tarp between the inside and outside, burglars may be tempted.

Try to make your property as secure and looking as lived-in as possible. Consider:

  • setting up a security fence
  • keeping the lights on, and
  • keeping your letterbox empty.

Valuables should be stored safely off-site if you won’t be around, or if that isn’t possible, in a secure container.

How long will your home be unoccupied?

If you decide to live elsewhere during the renovation period, keep an eye on how long you’ll be out of home. Most insurers, GIO included, have an unoccupied excess that applies to any claim that is made on a home that has nobody living in it for more than 60 consecutive days.

If possible, reduce the amount of time you need to be away from home or plan multiple short absences as opposed to one long one, by working with your builder on the project schedule.

Do you need to modify the sum insured after the renovation?

Reno done? Congratulations!

Now you’ve finished the hard work, remember to update the sum insured on your Home and Contents Insurance policy. The amount for which your home is currently covered may not be enough to rebuild it if required, once you take into account the additions made to your house.

If you’re a GIO customer, you can update your policy online by following these simple steps:

  1. Log on to GIO Online Services.
  2. Select your policy.
  3. Update your details.
  4. Pay an additional premium, if required.

And just like that, your cover is updated. These changes can also be completed through the GIO App .

Update Your Home Insurance Policy  

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Insurance issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as GIO. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance. The Target Market Determination is also available. Any advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.

The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.