New kitchen tops most popular home improvements
A third of homeowners (34%) are planning to install a new kitchen to improve their property, a survey by comparison website Gocompare has revealed.
An extension is next on the wish list, with 30% making plans to splash out some time in the next three years, followed by a new bathroom (29%).
However, the survey also found that 43% of homeowners who undertook major home improvements over the past three years didn't tell their home insurance provider of the changes they had made, something that could invalidate their home insurance.
Buildings and contents policies could both be potentially affected. Commenting on buildings cover, Mark Greening, head of home insurance at Gocompare, explained: "Premiums are partly based on the cost of rebuilding the structure of your property, so your insurer will want to know about any renovations which affect the value of your home."
As for contents insurance, when updating your home, new furniture and fittings will likely increase the value of your household contents so you should speak to your insurer to make sure that you have adequate cover for your new possessions and don't risk being underinsured should anything go wrong.
"If you are planning extensive renovations and are thinking of moving out while the work is in progress, you need to be aware of your insurer's rules regarding unoccupied properties," added Greening.
"Most household insurance policies stipulate that if you leave your home unoccupied for a period of time, typically exceeding 30 or 60 days, then your property will not be covered for certain events including theft, malicious damage and escape of water. There is no standard definition of ‘occupied' and the time period on some policies is as short as 14 days, so if you plan to move out during refurbishment works, then it is essential that you talk to your insurer to make sure you understand the implications."
Top 10 home improvements homeowners have planned for the coming three years
New kitchen 34%
New bathroom 29%
New boiler or central heating 15%
Garden makeover 20%
Knock through rooms 8%
Install solar panels 8%
Attic conversion 11%
Add an extra bedroom 7%
Cellar conversion 4%
Does exactly what it says on the tin: covers the contents of your home for theft and damage and also may insure certain possessions (jewellery, cycles) outside of the home. Things to watch for include the excess and also the maximum payout on individual items. Another grey area is kitchen fittings, as some contents policies say these are not contents but part of the fabric of the property and covered by buildings insurance and some buildings policies don’t cover them because they regard them as contents.