Do I need to tell my home insurance provider that I am renovating my house?

Do I Need to Tell My Home Insurance if I Renovate My Home?

Caeva O'Callaghan | April 24th, 2020

Your Home Insurance company doesn’t need to know about your Sunday morning DIY jobs. However, if you’re considering making major changes to your home, it’s worth telling your insurance. Find out more inside.

The short answer is: yes, if you’re doing a full renovation which means you’ll need to move out. If you’re just doing a bit of DIY and you plan on staying in your home, it’s not necessary.

It all depends on whether you plan on being present at the property. This is because all home insurance policies have an occupancy clause. This clause states how much of your time you have to spend at your home, in order for the policy to be valid.

In this article, we’ll cover questions such as:

  1. Do I need to tell my insurance if I renovate my home?
  2. Will doing DIY invalidate my house insurance?
  3. I bought a fixer-upper house, do I need to tell my home insurance?

Along with occupancy changes, you also need to tell your insurance company about any material change in risk. Read on to find out more.

General DIY and home insurance

You do not need to inform your insurance provider if you’re doing most kinds of DIY. You can do fairly large jobs, such as tiling a bathroom or installing new lights, without needing to tell your insurance.

This is because doing general jobs and altering your home is part of owning a house. Your insurance company will count it as general maintenance. If you keep your home to a good standard you’re less likely to make a claim, so your insurance will be glad you’ve been fixing broken pipes and upgrading features safely.

Larger jobs, such as knocking through a wall or adding an extension, may constitute a material change in risk. More on that in the next section.

And if you get tradesmen round your house and they do a bad job, your insurance will not cover you. This is because checking that a tradesman is legitimate is part of your responsibility as a homeowner. If their materials or labour were insufficient, their business insurance should cover the damages. If not, you may be left out of pocket.

Small renovations and home insurance

So you want to convert your attic, add an extension or conservatory, or upgrade your central heating system. All of these are large jobs you’ll probably be tackling with a team of experienced professionals. There’ll be significant upheaval for a while, but at the end of it you’ll have a transformed living space.

But, more importantly, these kinds of renovations are looked on by your home insurance provider as a change in material risk. You will need to inform them of any changes like these, so they can adjust your policy.

For example, you decide to convert your attic. You’re excited about your new craft room, but you can also put a guest bed in it if you need. Suddenly, you no longer own a three-bed house, but a four-bed house. This significant addition in living space is a material risk, as it will cost more than previously to rebuild should a fire or flood happen.

Similarly, if your grown up child moves to university and you decide to knock through your shared wall and make their bedroom into your new en suite, your insurance needs to know. You’ve now turned your three-bed property into a two-bed property.

Finally, things like upgrading your central heating system or adding a woodburning stove need to be declared to your insurance provider. These come with varying fire risks, and you may find yourself paying more or less for your premium. This could affect your decision to install, as your increased insurance cost might be more than you think.

Large renovations and home insurance

If your home is undergoing major renovations and you need to move out, this will certainly affect your home insurance.

For example, if you’ve bought a large “fixer-upper” property and plan on moving out, this will affect your insurance as you’re not actually living in the home. Your home insurance covers the building and structures and contents within the house itself, not wherever you happen to be.

To find out if you need to consult your insurance provider on what to do, check your policy. All insurance companies have an occupancy clause. If your home has been unoccupied for 35 (Allianz) or 40 (Axa) consecutive days, much of your cover will be invalid. This not only means your insurance won’t protect you, as you’re outwith the terms of the policy, but it also means you’ll be paying for nothing. In fact, you could have as little cover as only Fire and Liability.

If you’re planning a large renovation in the future, give us a call and we’ll be able to sort out protection for you.

If you are undertaking work on your house and you are unsure to contact your insurance provider, call us and we can help.

If you are doing any major work on your house or renovating your home and will be moving out. Call us and talk to our home insurance team. We can advise you on contacting your home insurance provider. our team have been helping our customers for over 30 years. We are available for calls between 8.30am and 5.30pm each weekday on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

If you need a home insurance quote today, we compare home insurance in the Irish market from 12 insurance providers to get you the right cover for your individual circumstances.