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Extending The Family Home

With the housing market currently in the doldrums and the cost of moving house running into several tens of thousands of pounds, it is hardly surprising that many people are choosing to spend their money on improving their current home by building an extension. There is nothing new in this popular practice, but there is one area home owners have previously overlooked when extending their property and that is insurance: extension insurance plugs that gap and could help to save homeowners many more thousands of pounds in unwelcome loss, damage, claims and expenses.

The simple fact is that, for many people, getting an extension added to the house is a question of securing the relevant planning permission, getting the builders in and paying for the work at the end of the day. The need for insurance to cover some potentially significant risks during the building works and to cover loss or damage to both the new extension and the existing structure of the house is often totally overlooked.

It may be that many homeowners wrongly believe that their standard home insurance policy will cover the risks encountered during the building of an extension. This is not generally the case since there are a number of areas that would not be covered by such standard policies and for which specialist insurance – extension insurance – will be necessary. There are a range of unique policies designed to provide renovation or conversion insurance.

The need for extension insurance includes, but is not limited to, the need to cover the legal responsibility that homeowners have towards anyone doing work on their home, their employees and towards members of the public. For example, if anyone employed to erect the extension has an accident and is injured whilst working in the property, the homeowner could be held liable and sued for damages – which could run into many thousands of pounds. Extension insurance packages are available to cover homeowners against such risks and pay any damages that may be awarded. Similarly, the building works or plant and machinery used during the building of the extension could cause damage to a neighbour's property. Gain, you could be held liable and extension insurance could offer protection against such public liability claims.

In addition to these types of risks, it is worth ensuring that the contractual agreement between the homeowner and the builders is governed by the construction industry's model Joint Contract Tribunal (JCT) agreement covering minor works. Whether it is or not, however, it is not possible to rule out the possibility of some contractual disputes arising which could cause costly delays as well as possible expensive legal consultation and advice. Most home extension insurance packages include provision for the reimbursement of any such legal expenses.

There are many areas in which extension insurance can cover the special and particular range of risks that lie generally beyond the scope of standard home insurance policies. Since the particular combination of risks that are required to cover the home extension calls for specialist knowledge of the insurance products available, it is worthwhile taking professional advice at the beginning. At Westhill Insurance we have a team of professionals who can talk homeowners through the various insurances required for any building work – and it may be that the addition of a substantial extension leads to the property being unoccupied for a period of time, which would then mean that unoccupied property insurance may be required. Property insurance of any kind is a complex matter and, as an independent broker, we can shop around to find the most suitable policy at the best possible price to suit what you truly need. By ensuring we understand your requirements, we can tailor a product to suit your needs – so the only extension you need is to your property, not your wallet!

Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.

Posted on 20th August, 2012