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Guide to self-build insurance

Designing and building your own home can be a dream project, but make sure you’re covered before you start. Otherwise, if something goes wrong, you could be left with a bill of thousands of pounds. 

Whether you’re extensively remodelling your current home, changing a property’s use or building from the ground up, you need to be confident that the insurance cover you have is adequate. We’ve created this guide to reveal everything you need to know about self-build insurance. 

How long does a self-build insurance policy last?

Most self-build insurance policies last for 18 months[1], as they need to cover the entire building process, and there can often be delays and holdups –things don’t always run to plan. 

If your policy is due to expire before you’ve finished, you can always ask your insurer to extend it. Depending on your insurance company, you may be able to extend it by a month at a time if you’re unsure how much extra time you’ll need. 

What does self-build insurance cover?

The level of cover offered does differ between insurers,  so you will need to check your policy documents. Typically, self-build insurance covers: 

  • Flood, fire and storm damage (like standard buildings and contents cover does).
  • Damage to your home and any temporary buildings (such as caravans and cabins).
  • Any costs for clearing the site/debris in the event of a claim being made.
  • Any items that are stolen by thieves (whether you own the items or they’re hired) up to a set limit.
  • Public liability insurance to protect yourself in case anyone injures themselves on your site or if any damage is caused to third party property.
  • Employer’s liability insurance in case any of your workers are injured.

There will usually be conditions within your policy. Most insurers will insist that you have good security and you may need to mark your tools/equipment so that, if they are stolen and recovered, they are more likely to be returned to you. 

The builders/contractors you will be using may be able to recommend a self-build insurance specialist, as generally self-build policies are not available from standard household insurance providers. 

What type of policy do I need once the build is over

Once your project is over and a certificate of completion has been issued, you will need standard buildings and contents cover if you want to be fully protected. If you have a mortgage, your mortgage provider will insist on buildings cover as a condition of your mortgage. They will also want your property to have a buildings warranty[2]

You won’t have to disclose that your property is self-built to your insurer unless it has been built using non-standard construction. If that is the case, some insurers may refuse to give you a policy. 

When you apply for an insurance policy, make sure that you value your new and/or improved property accurately, based on rebuild costs[3] and not on its market value. If you undervalue the property, you mightn’t receive enough back if you need to make a claim in the future, or your claim might even be refused. Overvaluing could mean you pay more for your policy premium than you need to. It’s worth noting that many insurers will offer buildings insurance based on a number of factors, including number of bedrooms, year of build, type of property and providing a standard limit (e.g. £500,000). 

If you would like to save on your home insurance, shop around and compare quote. This should help you get the best price for the level of cover you want. 

To get a quote for Rias home insurance, please click here >