As Autumn arrives, many homeowners are naturally looking to make improvements – particularly if our new work situation has meant that we are spending more time in our homes than we are used to. September is National Home Improvement Month, a time when we are most likely to make at least one change to our homes.
It may be tempting to consider taking on the interior or exterior building works ourselves, however in these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to hire a professional contractor: one that has all the necessary accreditations and appropriate insurance cover so you can be sure of a good result.
Word of mouth goes a long way, but even with recommendations from friends, it’s essential to know your contractor is protected so if something should go wrong, your project does not get delayed or even cancelled.
This is why it’s key to ask your contractor about their project portfolios, accreditations (training and trade body/association registration), and of course insurance cover.
Here are some of the different types of insurance you can ask about.
This insurance protects builders from liability claims made by clients and members of the public who may have suffered an injury or damage to property because of the work being carried out.
Professional contractors are working in public areas – your home, your street, your driveway. This means that you or your guests, or passers-by, run a small risk of being injured. A builder, therefore, must have public liability, so they are covered for a claim if this does happen. It shows responsibility for others and you as their client.
This type of policy covers the work itself – it means that if something they install doesn’t work, or something they build falls short of the expected standard, they are covered to repair it or replace it. It allows for mistakes and human error and gives peace of mind to the homeowner as it ensures the mistakes can be rectified and no monies lost.
This type of policy has become more common as we have increasingly embraced flexible working locations: while larger office systems provide protection though firewalls and blacklisted IP addresses, working at home can mean looser internet connections and a higher chance of cyberattacks. All independent businesses are potentially vulnerable, and as they collect customer data, it could be in a builder’s interest to consider a cyber insurance policy.
Any self-respecting builder or contractor will have this: after all, without their van or tools, they simply cannot work. Local crime sadly does happen, but having a policy to cover their vehicle and its contents will make sure they can complete the job rather than leaving you with an unfinished build.
There are other policies that contractors of different sizes should consider: employer’s liability; personal accident and sickness insurance – but the above policies are the most common and ones that home project contractors could expect to be asked about.
The building industry involves natural risks. Accidents can happen, and external events (such as COVID) can have an impact on any project. 2020 has shown us all that we never honestly know what is around the corner. So make sure your builder is protected and that way your project can hopefully be delivered safely, on time and with the right policies in place, should the unexpected happen.
Veetoo’s preferred insurance broker, Marsh Commercial, can source specialist contractors insurance and are on hand to offer free advice and guidance. For more information please click here.
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