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Translating high quality research specific to better design and building practice
Translating high quality research specific to better design and building practice

Do I need to contact my home and contents insurer prior to modifying or structurally altering my home?

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The short answer is yes, as Home Modifications are typically not covered by existing house and contents insurance. So despite keeping up payments and especially if you are not on site, Insurance experts (including the Insurance Council of Australia) warn that it's vital home owners don't simply assume they are covered under their existing home and contents policy when carrying out a renovation. They suggest that, in all cases, home owners should take the time to talk to their insurer about just what is and isn't covered when doing a renovation. It is important to ask if you are covered for public liability and home and contents insurance during the modification works as it's a really important question to ask before you start signing contracts with anyone.

You will also need to let the insurer know if anyone will be living in the property while work is being done and if the house will be furnished at this time. While your home is being modified, cover will be reduced on your buildings. There will be no cover for contents, liability to others or all risks during this time.

Therefore, while home modifications are in progress, you also need to consider protection for the building supplies that your contractor uses to complete the job. If supplies such as carpeting, tiles, or lumber are stolen, your homeowners insurance or the contractor's business insurance should cover the theft. The time to find out, though, is before a supplier starts delivering these items to your house.

Last but not least, once the modifications are complete, you may need to update your insurance policy if this has improved the vlaue of the property etc.

The Queensland Master Builder Association (MBA) has a factsheet which has important advice on this topic see pre-existing property liability but please check with your local MBA office as products may vary from State to State.

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