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Take cover: everything you need to know about insuring your property

Which is why we have teamed up with Paul Taylor from Actus Insurance. Paul has put together his top tips for planning your project insurance cover.

Do I need insurance?

Whether you’re looking at building a new property, an extension, or a refurbishment there are a number of factors to consider:

  • Existing structures
  • The works in progress (including materials on site)
  • Liability to and for any contractors
  • Items of plant (construction equipment, etc.) on site

Existing Structures

Did you know, if you’re planning an extension or refurb of your existing property you are required to notify your current insurance provider? You’re also likely to find the average household insurer will refuse to provide cover whilst the project is ongoing.

If you’re extending your property, you’ll also find your contractor’s insurance will only cover the works themselves and not your home’s full rebuild costs if anything goes wrong. We’d recommend you take out additional All Risks insurance cover your existing property.

It’s usually worth discussing your options with an insurance broker who can source the relevant policy for you and your project.

The works in progress

All of the works you have carried out on site can only be insured on a specific Contract Works policy.

This will protect the works in progress and any materials on site. It may also cover materials in transit to the site. By taking out this policy everything is covered in the event of damage, theft, etc.

If you’re working with a contractor you should ask to see a copy of their Contract Works insurance before they start.

If the contractor doesn’t have this type of cover, you can take out a joint policy to cover both parties.

This cover will also protect any “free issue” materials provided directly by you for your contractor to incorporate into the works. “Free issue” materials can range from something as little as some door handles to as big as raw materials for the build.

Liability to and for any contractors

Construction is one of the most hazardous trades in the UK and a major cause of accidents at work. Making sure your liability insurance is correct is extremely important.

The way you decide to run a project will inform what kind of liability insurance you need:
  • If you’re the project manager and hiring contractors you will be known as an ’employer’. You will need Employers Liability insurance.
  • If you decide to hand the whole project over to a contractor you may only need Public Liability Insurance.

It’s also important to consider the limit of any cover you purchase. Due to the rise in injury awards in recent years we tend to recommend a minimum level of Public Liability cover of £10,000,000 for any construction project, no matter the size.

It may also be worth considering even higher limits depending on the type of project. The project specifics will determine what kind of liability cover you should put in place.

Items of plant (construction equipment) 

Depending on your project, it’s quite likely that you will require some construction equipment (items of plant). These could be forklift trucks, excavators, access platforms or even a crane.

  • Whether this plant is owned by you or hired in, it can be added to a Contract Works insurance.
  • If you’re working with a contractor they should have insurance in place for their own plant or any that they hire.
  • If you hire something on the contractor’s behalf, be aware that their insurance will not cover it.
  • You will have the option to take out insurance cover when hiring plant. This is a good idea when only hiring an occasional piece of equipment, but for larger jobs, it may be more cost effective to insure these items yourself.

To recap…

The insurance policies you’re likely to need are:
  • All Risks insurance (protects your existing building throughout the work).
  • Contract Works insurance (protects the project work & materials. This is normally taken out by your contractor).
  • Employers Liability insurance (if you’re project managing & hire contractors).
  • Public Liability insurance (if you hire a contractor to manage the project on your behalf).
Key things to consider:
  • There are many different types of insurance cover. The important thing is to make sure every element of your project is covered.
  • Start to plan and seek advice about what policies you need to have at the beginning of your project.
  • Remember to check what insurance your contractor has and what this covers. You may need to take out further policies if there cover is not sufficient.

About us

Actus Insurance is an independent broker providing advice to individuals and businesses across the Sheffield City Region. If you would like to any advice on your next project please get in touch.