You paid out for Buildings and Contents right? So you want to know that if something bad happens your insurer will pay out. Well, there can be bumps on the road so here is a handy guide from Lawsure Insurance, offering moneysaving tips and advice for all you homeowners – tenants too.
Rather than buying a new house when more space is needed, many homeowners are opting to renovate their existing property, with 2-in-5 Brits choosing to build an extension, instead of moving house. Whether it’s major structural changes or just a small bit of work, you’ll need to tell your insurers what’s going on.
If you’re just painting some cupboards or putting in some new units, your insurer won’t need to know. By contrast, if there’s any kind of work being done which introduces new risks or increases the cost of rebuilding your insurer may need to alter your cover.
When the plans for the building work are being drawn up, it is essential to check whether the completed works will infringe on adjoining properties’ light (specialist Surveyors are able to advise you on this).
If neighbouring properties have enjoyed a certain amount of natural light to their property (or a certain room within their property) continuously for 20 years or over, they will have acquired a “right to light” and are potentially be able to claim compensation.
Many insurers stipulate that there must be signs of forced entry into a locked drawer or cupboard for a claim for missing valuables to be considered. If they’re normally out on display, lock them away for the duration of the building work.
Empty Too Long
Taking occasional trips away and enjoying holidays is all part of life, and insurers understand this. Generally you’re OK just taking a regular holiday, but longer absences are less common and your insurer will want to know if you’re planning on leaving your property unattended for say over a month.
The exact length of time varies between insurers, but a good rule of thumb is if you expect to be away for 30 days or more, you’ll need to tell your insurer. If you don’t and you suffer any kind of loss, your home insurance could be invalid, meaning you won’t be able to make a claim.
Insurers will cover longer absences but they may require you to take out unoccupied property insurance. Holidays can be one reason for this, but the death of a homeowner can be another. Administering the Will and sorting out Probate can be extremely time-consuming, sometimes taking the best part of a year to sort out, including the process of selling the house. So if the property is going to be empty for more than 30 days, Unoccupied Property Insurance is needed.
Renting To A Friend, Lodger or Offering Airport Parking Services
You might be thinking about renting out a spare room to a lodger as a great way of making a little extra income. Around 3% of households in the UK are now doing precisely this. However, before you do, make sure that you’ve checked the small print of your insurance policy and called your insurer first.
Many companies won’t offer policies to anyone who rents out part of their property.
There are some which will cover partially rented properties, but you must let the insurer know before renting out rooms to tenants. Insurers see rented rooms as a risk – after all, you’re entrusting your possessions and home to somebody you don’t fully know. Your policy could be invalidated if you fail to tell your insurers know before a lodger moves in.
If you’re thinking of using AirBnB, ParkOnMyDrive, or a similar online booking platform where space at your property is effectively being sub-let, then you definitely need to tell your insurance company that your house is being used for a commercial business activity. You should consider Public Liability, Indemnity, Legal Expenses and other cover, depending on the nature of business and the risks involved.