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What insurance should your builder have?

What insurance should your builder have?

Planning a building project? How do you know your builder has all the cover they need to protect your property and keep you safe? Here’s what to look out for.

Chris King
From the Home team
minute read
posted 11 MAY 2020

Types of insurance builders need

Whether it’s a loft conversion, an extension or an all-round renovation, everyone wants their home improvement project to run smoothly. But what happens if something goes wrong? This is where insurance comes in.

As a homeowner, you’ll want to know that any tradesmen you employ have the right cover in place. When you’re hiring a builder, ask for proof of the following insurance:

Public liability insurance

This type of insurance can cover legal and compensation costs if someone is hurt or killed, or their property damaged as a result of your builder’s work. For example, a ladder could fall and smash through your neighbour’s window, or a visitor might trip over tools left in your driveway.

This cover isn’t a legal requirement, but if they don’t have it, it’s worth considering taking it out yourself. In a worst-case scenario, you could be taken to court if something goes wrong and your builder doesn’t have cover.

Employers’ liability insurance

Employers’ liability insurance covers your builder if an employee is killed or injured as a result of their work.
If your builder has any other person working for them who’s not a direct family member, they’re legally required to have this insurance in place. Failing to do so means they risk hefty fines. Also, you don’t want to find yourself at risk of being sued if your builder doesn’t have the right cover.

Contract works insurance

What would happen if your builder’s work was destroyed before it was finished, and couldn’t be covered by your existing insurance? A storm demolishing a half-built conservatory, for example? Contract works insurance is designed to cover works in progress, if they have to be repaired or re-done because of one of the scenarios listed on the policy.

Building guarantees and warranties

An insurance-backed building guarantee can provide cover if the building company you’re using goes bust. A warranty can cover you if there are faults in the work. Builders may offer these as part of the job cost. But check carefully to see what exactly they cover and how long it’s valid for.

How do I know my builder has insurance?

The short answer is that you don’t, unless you ask to see their certificates and policies.

Inquiring about insurance is one of the first things to do before hiring your builder, and a reputable tradesman should be happy to show you their certificates. When you look, check to see how long their policies are valid for.

Home insurance during renovations

It’s vital to let your home insurance provider know when you’re having work done, to make sure your policy remains valid.

They’ll want to know the full details of the work and may put restrictions on your cover until it’s completed. It’s also worth considering taking out accidental damage insurance and legal cover, just in case there’s a problem with the work.

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