Building a home extension can provide you with extra living space and help you to create the home of your dreams.
Before you make changes to your property, you might want to check whether your existing home insurance is enough to cover any building work. If not, a specific home extension policy may be needed to protect your investment.
We’ve designed this guide to insuring your home extension to help you make sure you’ve got everything you need in place before works start.
We’ll be covering why homeowners are choosing to renovate, providing you with a helpful checklist to renovating your house and explaining why home renovation insurance is essential.
Renovating your home
There’s a range of reasons why people decide to renovate their home. Many see it as creating a “forever home”, which they can add to and adapt over time to suit their changing needs.
This could be if they’re having children and need extra room, or they simply want to have more space in their home. People are using extensions to create a home that fits around the different stages of their life, so they don’t have to go through the upheaval of moving.
Sometimes, renovating is done for financial reasons, like:
- Raising property value - adding a small 15m² extension could increase the value of your home by £35,445 – according to the national data across England and Wales.
- Repairing your home for sale - fixing-up certain parts of your home that need some TLC can improve its overall appearance - perfect when you’re preparing to put it on the market and attract potential buyers.
Building a home extension
One of the biggest renovation projects you can take on is building a home extension. But it’s also one of the most rewarding - financially and emotionally. Your home will be worth more and you should love living there more.
It’s not without its challenges, however, and there’s plenty to think about. Before work starts, you might want to consider having home insurance – specifically buildings insurance – in place.
A buildings insurance policy isn’t designed to cover large-scale changes to your home. However, it does cover you against the day-to-day risks you might encounter while your home turns into a building site.
Another challenge you may face is deciding how big you want your extension to be – and whether you’ll need planning permission to add it onto your home.
This is where you’ll need to contact your local council to apply for a permit to begin building a sizeable extension.
Thankfully, many home extensions fall under permitted development. This is where you’re granted permission to develop your property, without having to contact your local council.
There are classes that define what is and isn’t a permitted development. Home extension falls into Class A, meaning the following size extensions can be built:
- Single-storey side extensions - up to half the width of your existing home
- Single-storey rear extensions - must not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than 8m (for a detached house) and 6m (for any other house.)
- Two-storey rear extensions - up to 3m in length - in special circumstances, which include the extension being built in the same materials as the original home structure
*Homeowners can apply for a Lawful Development Certificate to build an extension of 8m - or 6m for semi-detached and terraced housing.
One of the biggest renovation projects you can take on is building a home extension. But it’s also one of the most rewarding - financially and emotionally.
Home renovation checklist
To help you get started on your home renovation, we’ve created a quick checklist of things to do during the planning stage.
It's important to consider each of these 5 checkpoints before work begins:
- Adhere to building regulations - ensuring your extension doesn’t encroach onto your neighbours’ land is important. If you’re digging foundations within 3m of the party walls of your property or 6m from the boundary, your extension needs to comply with the 1996 Party Wall Act.
- Alternative accommodation - depending on how much disruption construction will cause, you may need to move out temporarily. Factor the expenses of a B&B or hotel into your overall costs before starting.
- Draw up the project costs - considering what an extension is likely to cost you to add to your home. Create a balance sheet that lists all outgoings, including design, construction, insurance and furnishing expenses.
- Choose the right professionals - picking the wrong designers or builders for the job is often one of the most common renovation mistakes people make. Do plenty of research online to find examples of their previous work, evidence of their qualifications and read reviews.
- Check your amenities will still work - completing work on an extension, only to find your electric and heating system doesn’t extend to the new area of your home, is a nightmare scenario. You need to work out whether you need to install an additional boiler or a separate electrical system to cope with a new extension, to ensure you’re not paying extra in the long-run.
Home renovation insurance
All the planning in the world sometimes isn’t enough. Renovating your home brings its own risks that you cannot predict or prevent.
Home renovation insurance is designed to protect you from these unplanned eventualities throughout the project duration when you’re building an extension.
A typical policy may help cover you against:
- Invalidating your home insurance - whenever you add an extension to your home, your insurer needs to know about it. Home renovation insurance ensures you have additional cover to avoid voiding your existing home insurance policy.
- Injuries or accidents on-site - a policy that includes public liability insurance protects you as the homeowner, if someone is injured on your property during renovation work - excluding those caused by the renovation work.
- Damage to your existing property - any damage that isn’t caused directly by the renovation work is covered, which gives you extra peace of mind knowing your home is still covered during this time.
- Unoccupied insurance - if you move into temporary accommodation while your extension is being built and your house is damaged while left unoccupied, a home extension insurance policy can cover your building.
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