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What have you guys covered yourselves for under site insurance?

Below is a list of the items I need to consider, but I'm not really sure whether I need cover, nor at what level, for things like hired plant. The property will be an MBC timber frame with groundworks done by an external company and we don't live on site. I'm intending doing as little of the work myself as possible!

Owned Plant - £0.00
Hired Plant - £0.00
Caravans & Site Huts - £0.00
Contents of Caravans & Site Huts - £0.00

Personal Possessions – Up to £5,000.00
Personal Accident - Up to £20,000.00
Bone Fracture – Up to £400.00

Employers Liability – Up to £10m
Public Liability - £5,000,000.00
Products Liability - £5,000,000.00

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I took the view that the public liability risk was near-zero before we started work, so didn't insure the plot as it stood empty (and found out that the previous owner, who'd owned it for several years, hadn't insured it either.

The contract with our ground works company gave them complete responsibility for the plot, including site security and everything on it.  This meant that there was no point in me having separate insurance in place whilst the ground works were going on, as it would have been subsidiary to the ground works company own insurance, and so not really worth paying the premium for.

I took out insurance similar to the above, with the exception that I don't think I had personal injury or possessions cover like that; I think possessions cover was £500 only, as an incentive to not leave any tools on site!  I took out insurance the day I took over responsibility for the site, which was the day the ground works company finished.  This was because that was the point where I assumed responsibility for site security, safety etc, and so insurance was needed.

One tip is to shop around and make sure you get a good deal, one where you can extend the policy if there is an over-run without incurring a punitive additional premium.  I found that all the on-line insurers were inter-connected, so once you've had a quote from one you will either get a similar quote from the others or they may refuse to quote.  On renewal I found that they lock you in.  If you've had a policy from one insurer and you need to extend cover for, say, another year, none of the insurers on line will quote, they will just tell you to renew with your original insurer.  In my experience that meant paying around 50% more for the extended cover.  I ended up going to a broker and getting a significantly better deal than from the likes of Buildstore, and it may well be worth doing this from the outset, particularly if you tyhink you may need cover beyond the initial period.

 

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Thanks Jeremy. The best quote I've had so far is with Protek and I'll probably set it up for 12 months so it should be enough to cover me without needed to extend. Did you get cover for hired plant at all? I assume this could include scaffold and toilet but I am assuming!

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No, I didn't get any cover for hired kit, as I felt that was taking responsibility away from those that had hired it.  I only hired one thing, a mini-digger for a day, and I took the keys to that back to the hire place the afternoon I'd finished with it so that it was off-hire and their responsibility to pick up.

Scaffolding is covered by the scaffolder's insurance, which is why you're never supposed to alter it after erection (although everyone does.....).   The toilet was covered by the toilet supplier, as it was supplied as a service, not just hire (they came and emptied and cleaned it every week, included in the £25 a week charge).  I don't know how much they cost, but my site insurance had a £500 excess, so even if the insurance did need to cover the toilet I'm guessing that most of the cost would have ended up being paid by me, anyway.

Best ask for the extension of policy costs before you commit, as above they can really stitch you up over this if you get delayed for any reason.

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which website do you recommend for looking a quote?

 

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There are a few = Buildzone, Protek, Buildstore amongst others.

You will find the underlying insurer is normally Zurich though so don't expect huge variation in price !

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Got a price from Buildstore £430.61 for a year or £775.52 for 2 houses

polisa.jpg

Edited by anna

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Be really careful to read all the text. Print it out and take your time. 

Here be Dragons 

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I was hoping these are rather standard texts, Hate doing it :)

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19 minutes ago, anna said:

I was hoping these are rather standard texts, Hate doing it :)

The crocodiles that will eat you are the ones you don't know about or haven't looked for :-)

F

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Do they seriously put 'traps' in these polices?   Do you have any examples of tricky sentences? I was reading them ... didn't notice anything suspicious 

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Wait til you try and claim.... :ph34r:

I've noticed some of them are vague - I am trying to get the definition of "site hut" confirmed, and what they will and won't pay out for if I use a secure container for storage. 

Its taken 2 weeks, and I'm still no closer !!

 

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Here's just one: (PM me for the company name if you like)

Tucked away in a corner words to the effect;

  • If we choose to use piles as a foundation, then the policy will be cancelled or otherwise varied ( = price increase). And I had to decide whether I would to use piles before the SE had decided.

I pointed that out. Oh, that's OK.... just give us £600 for the year and we'll look at the contract again later if you use piles. 

I read and re-read five quotes, and highlighted sections I felt were dubious. I was and still am unhappy with the quote I accepted; but it was the least bad option. 

I don't mind companies making money. But I do mind what appears on the face of it to be border-line sharp practice. As standard. 

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My experience was pretty grim with Buildstore.  I initially insured with them for 18 months, thinking that would be long enough.  We then had the borehole problem and overran, so I got a 6 month extension from them (far more expensive than 6 months worth of the original policy).  I still hadn't finished at the end of the extension, and rather stupidly (although to be fair I was having some health problems at the time) I let the policy lapse for three weeks (so we had no insurance at all - worrying, and I'm glad nothing happened).

I then asked for another extension and was quoted a really silly price by Buildstore, like double the original premium, so I started shopping around online.  The first quote was refused as soon as I answered the question "have you ever had insurance on this project before?" and I answered "yes".  This happened three or four times with online insurers, so I rang one up.  He quite openly told me that they all had a policy of never insuring anyone that had been insured by another company, so ensuring that you went back and paid the extra-high premium for renewal.

This annoyed me, as I'm not even sure it's legal, it seemed very much as if a cartel was operating, to keep premiums high.  I found a broker that specialised if self build and renovation insurance and they put together a tailor-made policy to suit our needs.  It was a lot cheaper, because it recognised that the house was secure, weatherproof and had safe access, with no remaining "building site" risks externally.  It can also be converted to buildings cover when we complete, at no additional cost, for the remaining period of cover.

As above, read the small print VERY carefully.  My experience has been that there are some potential problems with some standard policies.

Finally, to end on another insurance-related point that may be of interest, our house contents insurance renewal arrived earlier this week.  The premium was much the same as it has been for the past goodness knows how many years (I'm lazy and haven't bothered to shop around).  It includes a maximum no claims discount (we've never ever claimed on a contents policy if over 30 years).  The odd thing was that the renewal notice had loads of errors, and they ask you to check this as it forms the basis for your cover.

The errors were serious and included "unknown" by things like construction, roof covering, security systems, age, number of occupants, whether they were smokers, etc, and some really odd things, like it said we had lodgers (no idea where that came from, we've never ever had a lodger).  So, I rang them (the usual nightmare of being on the phone for half an hour before you eventually find a way to speak to a human being).  I explained that we'd been insured by them for around 15 years (they didn't know this!) and that the renewal notice had more errors on it than facts.  They tried to say that these weren't important, so I read the heading of the notice, that starts by saying that if any of the information below is in error your insurance may not be valid, they may not pay any claim and they may choose to just cancel the policy without notice.  At that point the chap asked if I'd like to give him the missing or erroneous information, all the time assuring me that it wasn't really important. 

At this stage I said that yes I would, but given the fact that I'd (by then) spent 40 mins on the phone trying to sort this out, I was sorely tempted to just not renew with them and find an insurer who was half way competent.  This induced a sudden attitude change, with an apology, a sort of vague muttering about their computer system having some problems (how many times have we all heard that one!) and that he'd try and see what he could do to put things right as quickly as possible.  I gave him the details, and said I wanted a new renewal notice in writing, so that I could check the details were correct before renewing (it runs out at the end of this month). 

Imagine my "surprise" when the new premium turned out to be 40% cheaper than the renewal one we'd originally been quoted.................

And some wonder just why I'm just a bit cynical about insurance and finance organisations.

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Hi Jeremy - I am starting to shop for site insurance. We are going with a contractor who is initially contracted to demolish the house, prepare the site, groundworks and build the garage. We intended to keep the same firm involved for the external finishing of the house but it was my intention to keep this as a secondary contract.

 

The site has a small amount of retaining walls but nothing on the scale of the retaining walls on your site and the contractor will be doing this work.

 

I have so far being looking to get an all risks policy from day 1 of project to cover any risk. However, at the mention of the word 'retaining wall' I get a 5 page form to complete with no distinction between a wall 750mm high and another holding back a mountain.

 

So, is there a need to get an all risks insurance policy under these circumstances given that the contractor carries their own insurance as like you, will be responsible for all aspects of the build such as H&S, insurance, fencing etc.

 

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