Builders InsuranceOwner Builders Insurance

Owner Builder Insurance - what is it?

Owner Builders Insurance is a collection of different insurances you may need as a home owner for any substantial renovation or build you want to oversee personally. Regardless of whether you are doing the work yourself or plan to hire contractors, you should be considering owner builder insurance. But what are some of the other insurances you may consider?

Builders Contract Works Insurance - this will cover any loss or damage to your building during the construction process.

Public Liability Insurance - cover any damage to property or injury to a person as a result of your renovation/build.

 

Owner Builder Insurance Quote Form

WHY YOU NEED Owner Builders Insurance

Tradies have insurances right!

It is a common misconception that as an owner builder you don't need to really worry about builders insurance. As long as you only contract Tradies that have their own builders insurance. This couldn't be further from the truth.

 

Tradies insurance only covers while they are onsite and only their part

A Tradies' builders insurance will only cover them and their work whilst they are performing the work. Their contract works insurance will cease to cover their work as soon as they finish and leave the site. This then means that their portion of the overall project is now no longer covered for loss or damage.

 

You need to insure the overall project and even people coming onsite

Secondly, you should really have public liability insurance in case any damage or injury is caused by your construction project. This could be to other people working on the site, or just someone coming to visit you.

 

You MUST have your own insurance for finance

If you are going to borrow money for the renovation/build, you will generally be required by the Lender to have appropriate owner builders insurance. Important Note: It is very important that you have your insurances in place before you start the build. Once the build has begun, it is difficult to get insurance covers, which will cause difficulties in the event you are looking for finance. Without insurances in place, finance companies don't finance.

Owner Builder Insurance made easy

Talk to us, we work with this everyday

Don't just assume that you will be covered by your existing home and contents insurance and the individual contractors' builders insurance. Talk to one of the owner builders insurance experts at Tradesure to find out exactly what policies you should consider and what it will cost.

 

Making it more affordable with pay by the month

At Tradesure we can arrange your owner builder insurance to be paid by the month at no extra cost.

 

Get in contact and get covered

For an owner builders insurance quote, please fill in an online insurance quote form.

If you're not sure what you need, simply fill in a contact form or call us on 1800 872 331

 

Owner Builder Insurance Quote Form

more information on Owner Builder Contract Works Cover

What does Owner Builder Contract Works Insurance cover?

1: Material Damage This is damage to the building whilst under construction. The most common claims come from cyclone, storm , fire, flood  and  theft of building materials.

2: Public Liability This is to protect the owner builder from claims made against them by third parties for damage to property and injury they suffer.

As with all insurances you should consult the relevant Product Disclosure Statement to ascertain the extent of the cover and more importantly what is not covered.

 

things to know

Insurance must be arranged before building commences 

The biggest common mistake Owner Builders make in relation to insurance is to wait until they have partly completed or commenced construction before arranging the insurance. Owner builders often feel that they will save insurance premium by insuring the dwelling for a shorter period of time than it takes to build the dwelling. They think to wait to insure until there is something there to insure, however it is imperative to insure the building before work starts.

 

Many insurers will not cover Contract Works policies once the building has commenced

Due to strict underwriting guidelines, cover is often difficult to arrange or cannot be arranged once building has commenced. This can also have ramifications where finance is involved as Financiers and Banks usually, as part of their normal lending practice, request a copy of the Contract Works Insurance policy before advancing funds. So if the insurance is not in place, the availability of funds could be jeopardised.

 

Insure for as long as you will be building

How long should I have the policy go for? As this is done on a Single one-off Contract Works Insurance policy and no renewal is issued by the insurer, it is best to make the policy run initially for as long as you think it will take to build your home. Some insurers are reluctant to extend the policy if the cover is required for a greater time than originally applied for. If you estimate the build time is 18 months, then make the policy run for 18 months, as normally insurers do not offer renewal for one-off Contract Works cover.

 

If you think it will take less than 12 months, take out 12 months

Above we said to insure for as long as the build will take, the only exception we would recommend for this is that if it will take you less than 12 months to build, make the initial period of insurance run for 12 months. There will be no additional premium to pay as it costs the same to insure for 12 months as 8 months, and it is rare to hear about builds that run to schedule.

 

Cover is only for "building", not occupying

What if I occupy the dwelling before the home is finished and the Contract Works Insurance has time to run? It is most  important to understand that once you occupy the dwelling (even if it is not completed) the Contract Works Insurance and the Public Liability associated with the policy will not cover you and you will need to arrange Home Insurance to insure your home. Don't assume that because you have Contract Works insurance in place  it will still cover until the expiry date, when in fact this is not the case.

 

Insure for "Replacement" value

Calculating the sum insured: This is a common question asked by Owner Builders as the value of the construction varies over the build and is obviously is much less at the beginning than at the end. Our advice for this is to have the sum insured represent the replacement value of the finished home and  the sum insured  should reflect what it would cost a builder to rebuild and/or rectify the damage.

 

Avoid underinsurance

Insuring for the full replacement value will ensure you are not penalised by underinsurance clauses that exist in Contract Works policies.

An example of underinsurance is: You insure a home under construction for $150k, and the replacement value is $300k, you will only receive 50% of any claim as you are insured for only half the replacement value. So if you has a storm and the damage bill is $50,000, you would only receive $25,000, as you have underinsured by half the replacement value of the property.

 

If you are properly insured, someone else may fix it for you

We have also found that when a loss and particularly a major loss occurs, owner builders are happy for a registered builder who is appointed by the insurance company to finish the build and repair the damage. This does not preclude the owner builder completing the work themselves , however, as the insurer is paying for the repairs they have the discretion on who they will appoint to do the work. If there is a saving in having the owner builder do the work for the insurer then they may well appoint the owner builder but like a registered builder they would have to quote for the work that is required. Also consider it should take the registered builder less time to complete the work.

 

 What about excess?

What excesses apply in the event of a claim? This can vary from insurer to insurer but generally we have found the standard excesses are $1,000 per claim for Material Damage and Public Liability. The exceptions to this are Named Cyclone (Tradesure is $2,500) and Workers to Worker claims under the Public Liability section which is also $2500 at Tradesure.

 

Make sure your Contractors have insurance

Is there anything I need to know if I engage Subcontractors? The most important and often overlooked aspect of this is that all subcontractors should have their own Public Liability insurance and show evidence to the owner builder of this by way of a certificate of currency before they commence work. This is a principal adopted by registered builders and it applies no less to owner builders. We strongly recommend you obtain this in writing and not just receive the information verbally. If they have employees of their own they should also have Workers Compensation in place. All subcontractors should be suitably qualified, licensed and operating as required by law.

 

Insuring additional items

What additional Items are insured? It can depend on what you select ( and they must be selected as not all are automatically included) and some of these additional items do not add to the cost so we recommend they be included; Contract Value Increase – can cover up to 15% of the value Removal of Debris – usually up to 10% of the sum insured Professional Fees – usually up 15% of the sum insured for draughtsman, architects, surveyors Fire Extinguishment Costs – usually $10,000 Materials in Transit – usually $10,000

 

Some things are not covered, some are, best to ask

Are my tools or any of my equipment insured under the Contract Works policy? Any tools you use or plant and equipment you own can be insured. Sometimes these are best covered under the Contract Works Insurance , however, this is not always the case as it can depend on the tools and equipment and where you require them insured. We recommend speaking to an insurance professional to ascertain your insurance needs in relation to these items. Subcontractors tools and equipment are the responsibility of the subcontractor and they should have their own insurance for these items.

 

Employees and insurance

What if I employ someone to assist? If you employ someone to assist you then you should arrange Workers Compensation (Work Cover) insurance for the employee in accordance with your State labour laws. Even if the worker has their own ABN they could still be deemed to be an employee under current legislation and you would need to check with the Workers Compensation in your state to clarify this.

 

Some things are not covered, important to know 

What are some of the occurrences excluded by Contract Works insurance owner builders should be aware of? Once again it can vary from insurer to insurer but here are a few examples;

  • No cover once the building is occupied
  • No cover for any defect or design error including incorrect plans or specifications.
  • Damage that occurs over time such as corrosion, or deterioration due to climate conditions
  • Damage caused by vermin, termites or insects

 

If you're not sure what you need, simply fill in a contact form or call us on 1800 872 331

Owner Builder Insurance Quote Form

Frequently Asked Questions about Owner Builder Contract Works Insurance

  • What does Owner Builder Contract Works Insurance cover?
    1. Material Damage

    This is damage to the building whilst under construction. The most common claims come from cyclone, storm , fire, flood  and  theft of building materials.

    1. Public Liability

    This is to protect the owner builder from claims made against them by third parties for damage to property and injury they suffer.

    As with all insurances you should consult the relevant Product Disclosure Statement to ascertain the extent of the cover and more importantly what is not covered.

  • When should Owner Builder Contract Works Insurance be arranged?

    BEFORE YOU COMMEnCE BUILDING!

    The biggest Common Mistake Owner Builders make in relation to this insurance is to wait until they have partly completed or commenced construction before arranging this insurance. Owner builders often feel that they will save insurance premium by only insuring the dwelling for a shorter period of time than it takes to build the dwelling. This can be incorrect particularly where the term of the cover is less than 12 months.

    Additionally some insurers will not cover Contract Works policies once the building has commenced due to strict underwriting guidelines. If cover is difficult to arrange or cannot be arranged because you have already commenced building, this can also have ramifications where finance is involved.  Financiers and banks usually as part of their normal lending practice, request a copy of the Contract Works Insurance policy before advancing funds so if this is not in place, the availability of funds could be jeopardised.

  • How long should I have the Owner Builder Contract Works policy go for?

    As this is done on a Single One – Off Contract works insurance policy and no renewal is issued by the insurer, it is best to make the policy run initially for as long as you think it will take to build your home as some insurers are reluctant to extend the policy if the cover is required for a greater time than originally applied for.  For instance if your estimate of the build time is 18 months, then make the policy run for 18 months as normally insurers do not offer renewal for one-off Contract Works cover. The only exception we would recommend for this is that if it will take you less than 12 months to build the home then make the initial period of insurance run for 12 months as there will be no additional premium to pay.

  • What if I occupy the dwelling before the home is finished and the Contract Works Insurance has time to run?

    It is most important to understand that once you occupy the dwelling (even if it is not completed) the Contract Works Insurance and the Public Liability associated with the policy will not cover you and you will need to arrange Home Insurance to insure your home. This is another big mistake Owner Builders make – they assume that because they have Contract Works insurance in place it will still cover until the expiry date when in fact this is not the case.

  • How do I as an Owner Builder calculate the sum insured for my Owner Builder Contract Works Insurance?

    This is a common question asked by Owner Builders as the value of the construction varies over the build and is obviously much less at the beginning than at the end. Our advice for this is to have the sum insured represent the replacement value of the finished home and the sum insured should reflect what it would cost a builder to rebuild and/or rectify the damage. This will ensure you are not penalised by underinsurance clauses that exist in Contract Works policies.

    An example:  If you insure a home under construction for $150k and the replacement value is $300k then you will only receive 50% of any claim as you are insured for only half the replacement value.

    We have also found that when a loss and particularly a major loss occurs, owner builders are happy for a registered builder who is appointed by the insurance company to finish the build and repair the damage. This does not preclude the owner builder completing the work themselves, however, as the insurer is paying for the repairs they have the discretion on who they will appoint to do the work. If there is a saving in having the owner builder do the work for the insurer then they may well appoint the owner builder but like a registered builder they would have to quote for the work that is required. Also consider it should take the registered builder less time to complete the work.

  • Is there anything I need to know if I engage Subcontractors that may affect my Owner Builder Contract Works Insurance?

    The most important and often overlooked aspect of this is that all subcontractors should have their own Public Liability insurance and show evidence to the owner builder of this by way of a certificate of currency before they commence work. This is a principal adopted by registered builders and it applies no less to owner builders. We strongly recommend you obtain this in writing and not just receive the information verbally. If they have employees of their own they should also have Workers Compensation in place. All subcontractors should be suitably qualified, licensed and operating as required by law.

  • What additional Items are insured with my Owner Builder Contract Works Insurance?

    It can depend on what you select (and they must be selected as not all are automatically included) and some of these additional items do not add to the cost so we recommend they be included;

    Contract Value Increase           can cover up to 15% of the value

    Removal of Debris                    usually up to 10% of the sum insured

    Fire Extinguishment Costs       usually $10,000

    Materials in Transit                  usually $10,000

    Professional Fees                    usually up 15% of the sum insured for draughtsman, architects, surveyors

  • Are my tools or any of my equipment insured under the Contract Works policy?

    Any tools you use or plant and equipment you own can be insured. Sometimes these are best covered under the Contract Works Insurance, however, this is not always the case as it can depend on the tools and equipment and where you require them insured. We recommend speaking to an insurance professional to ascertain your insurance needs in relation to these items. Subcontractor’s tools and equipment are the responsibility of the subcontractor and they should have their own insurance for these items.

  • What do I need to consider with my Owner Builder Contract Works Insurance if I employ someone to assist?

    If you employ someone to assist you then you should arrange Workers Compensation (Work Cover) insurance for the employee. Even if the worker has their own ABN they could still be deemed to be an employee under current legislation and you would need to check with the Workers Compensation in your state to clarify this.

  • What are some of the occurrences excluded by Contract Works insurance owner builders should be aware of?

    It can vary from insurer to insurer but here are a few examples;

    • No cover once the building is occupied
    • No cover for any defect or design error including incorrect plans or specifications.
    • Damage that occurs over time such as corrosion, or deterioration due to climate conditions
    • Damage caused by vermin, termites or insects