When you hire someone for a building or repairs project in your home, you want the work to be of high quality and for them to treat your property with care and respect.
However, in some cases, a contractor might do subpar work that can cause immediate and lasting damage to your property. Even if you’ve found a contractor with a good reputation, accidents can happen.
So what happens if a contractor damages your property? Will they pay, are the repairs covered by your home insurance, or will you end up out of pocket?
Let’s take a look.
Does Home Insurance Cover Damage Caused by Contractors?
Typically, the answer is no. Accidental damage caused by alterations, repairs, maintenance, restoration, dismantling, or renovating is generally not covered in your buildings or contents insurance.
This why it is recommended that, before you hire someone to work on your house, you should confirm:
- They have liability insurance to cover anything that may go wrong
- Whether they’re part of an official trade association
- Reviews to see if anyone has had problems with them in the past
Checkatrade is one of many sites you can visit to find a recommended tradesperson.
You can also draw up a legal document such as a contract for works that both you and the tradesperson sign before work begins. This will lay out the scope of work, your requirements, and what will happen if there are problems.
Who Pays for the Damage?
If damage is sustained to your property, first contact the contractor to raise the issue with them and ask how they would like to remedy the situation.
Assuming you hired a licensed contractor, they’re required by law to have insurance. A reputable contractor will either cover the damage themselves or be willing to file a claim with their insurance company. This means you won’t have to worry about any extra expenses.
If they refuse to address the problem, you may need to resolve the issue in small claims court. Many cases can be resolved in small claims court without legal representation. You may only need a lawyer if the damage is beyond the claim size handled by small claims courts (£10,000).
Assess The Situation and Talk to Your Contractor
When you hire a professional contractor to do work in your home, you expect quality work. Obviously, if damage occurs, it can be a frustrating situation. This is why it’s important to remain calm and talk it out with your contractor.
But first, assess the situation to determine if the contractor’s work, in fact, caused the damage.
For example, if your basement floods caused by a damaged pipe during renovations, your contractor might be at fault, and you should address the situation with them. However, flooding caused by rainfall is clearly not something you can blame on your contractor. Your home insurance should take care of this, though.
It’s best to avoid accusatory language. Instead, ask for an explanation. Give them a chance to explain what happened. Likely, your contractor will want a quick and civil resolution as much as you do.
Typically, they’ll apologize and offer to fix the problem free of charge. A contractor’s reputation is part of their livelihood. So, if they’re at fault, they’ll be eager to make it right and make it up to you.
A respectable and professional contractor values their reputation and should own up to mistakes when they’re at fault.
File a Claim with the Contractor’s Insurance
Contractors should have insurance to cover the cost should your home get damaged while they’re working on it. Check that this is an active policy before any works are undertaken.
It’s standard practice for builders and developers to have proper Contractor’s All-Risk (CAR) insurance, which covers all risks normally associated with a construction project. This will apply if a builder causes damage to the site or adjacent property while carrying out works.
But, depending on the type of damage and your relationship with the contractor, they might offer to cover the cost out of their own pocket rather than filing an insurance claim, which would come with the associated premium renewal increase and loss of any no claims benefit.
Regardless of whether you choose to take this option up, always look for a licensed contractor with their own insurance. If a contractor is unwilling to verify their coverage, consider hiring someone else.
Hire a contractor you can trust. Don’t leave any aspect of your home renovation up to chance. You should always make sure a contractor has insurance and read their reviews before you let them work on your home.
Taking on a home renovation is an exciting process. Make sure your renovation goes as planned by hiring a contractor with a good track record and the relevant insurance. In order to ensure your project runs smoothly, consider hiring a contract administrator, which is a service we may offer.
If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to contact us here.