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Home renovation and insurance

Before you kick off a renovation, make sure you’ve got your insurance cover sorted so that your home and belongings are protected at all times.

Check to see your insurance policy covers you for your renovation

The first thing you should do is carefully read your insurance policy and the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to check that you’ll have the cover you need during the renovation. This can differ between policies, depending on the insurer, the product and the type of renovation being done. If you’re in any doubt, give your insurer a call.

What if your policy doesn’t cover you for renovations?

That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to put a stop to the work. Your insurer might be able to offer an increased level of cover for an additional premium. Your insurer is there to work with you, so have a discussion about what renovations you’ll be doing in advance.

You should also check that your builder has insurance cover in case your home is damaged due to the renovation work.  Make sure you talk to your builder about making sure your home is kept both secure and watertight at all times. Storms are one of the most common causes of damage during renovations so check your builder has adequate tarpaulins in place that are well tied down.

Give your insurer a call to let them know what you’ll be doing

No matter what work you’ll be doing – and even if you’ve read your policy and the PDS and know that you’re covered – give your insurer a call to let them know about the renovation works. Most insurance policies require you to notify the insurer of what work you’ll be doing.

Need to move out?

If you’re moving out for an extended period of time during the renovation, let your insurer know. It’s a condition of many insurance policies that a home is only vacant for up to a set amount of time before your cover will lapse (generally 60 days).

Don’t make it easy for thieves - keep your property in good shape

Visible signs of a home renovation can be an invitation for burglars; so don’t make it easy for them. Keep your place as secure as possible and hide any easy entry points. If you have to move out during the renovation works, think about putting up a fence, leaving lights on (or setting timers) and keep the letterbox empty. The more lived in you can make your home appear the better.

Keep your belongings secure

If the security of your home is compromised during the renovation, you’ll still need to make sure your belongings are secure. If you have to keep them stored all in one room for example, make sure there is a lock on the door.

Make sure you’re contractors have all their insurance cover in order

When it comes to renovating there’s more to consider than just cover for belongings.  Tradespeople need to have professional insurance in place as well, so before engaging any tradies check they’ve got their insurance sorted.

Big job or small job, you need to check for water damage

Even if you’re planning a minor bathroom renovation that won’t structurally change your home (meaning your home will remain secure and won’t be at an increased risk of a break in), most insurance policies have exclusions for water damage. Once again, make a point of finding out exactly what you’re covered for.

Update your insurance afterwards

Once your renovation is complete, you’ll want to get back into your home as soon as possible. But before you do, make sure you give your insurer a call to update your building and/or contents insurance policies to cover your new renovation.