A fifth of British homeowners planning to invest in structural changes in next 12 months

Sainsbury’s Home Insurance reports that the slower housing market may be having a direct impact on the nation’s plans to make the most of where they currently live as a fifth (21%) of British homeowners plan to undertake major structural changes to their properties in the next 12 months(1).

The bank’s new research puts the average amount to be spent per household at £17,361; although nearly a fifth (19%) of those planning works intend to spend more than £20,000, 4% plan to spend over £50,000 and 1% expect their works to cost between £100,001 and £200,000.

Amount to be spent on structural changes Percentage of homeowners planning on carrying out structural changes and spending this amount
Up to £5,000 28%
£5,001 – £10,000 25%
£10,001 – £20,000 18%
£20,001 – £30,000 5%
£30,001 – £40,000 7%
£40,001 – £50,000 3%
£50,001 – £75,000 1%
£75,001 – £100,000 2%
£100,001 – £200,000 1%

Sainsbury’s Home Insurance warns that homeowners looking to undertake any structural changes that will increase the size of their property should inform their buildings insurer first in order to ensure that they are fully covered for the increased value of their home. When questioned, a third (33%) of people planning on carrying out structural works said that they were not aware that they had to inform their home buildings insurer before the works started.

Up to 5.3 million homeowners intend to undertake some sort of major structural work in the next 12 months. Of these, 1.3 million say they are planning on converting their loft or roof, 1.2 million will erect a conservatory and a further 950,000 are planning on a rear extension to their property.

Around 228,000 homeowners are planning on carrying out a basement excavation to create a new room, which is in line with a new trend that is emerging in city or town centres, where space is often at a premium.

Neil Laird, Home Insurance Manager, Sainsbury’s Finance said: "In the current housing climate, creating extra space in your home is another option for those who have maybe decided to put their plans to move on hold. But, as buildings insurance premiums are calculated based on the type of house, for example the number of bedrooms it has, creating extra rooms can have an impact on your premium even if you have unlimited cover."

"We want to make sure that homeowners are aware that they could be left underinsured or even invalidate their insurance entirely in the event of an incident during or after the works if they have not informed their insurer first."

Planned type of structural work Number of homeowners who intend to carry out work % of homeowners who are not aware that this structural work requires them to inform their buildings insurer
Loft / Roof conversion 1,344,000 37%
Erect conservatory 1,186,000 23%
Rear extension 949,000 16%
Garage extension 713,000 15%
Side extension 679,000 6%
Conversion of outbuildings 554,000 5%
Conversion of existing basement 270,000 3%
Basement excavation to create a new room(s) 228,000 7%
Other 1,531,000 21%

On a regional basis, rear extensions, conversion of outbuildings or conversion of an existing basement are most popular in Greater London with 364,000, 167,000 and 116,000 homeowners, respectively, planning to carry out these works in the next 12 months.

Conservatories are most popular in the South East / Anglia (397,000) and Loft or Roof conversions are planned by the most people in the North West (260,000). Side extensions are most likely to be carried out in the North East / Yorkshire and Humberside region (256,000) as are basement excavations to create a new room (84,000).

As well as being competitively priced, Sainsbury’s Home Insurance offers an extensive range of cover and benefits. This includes:

  • Unlimited buildings cover
  • 20% discount online when buying buildings and contents cover together(2)
  • Unlike some home insurers, Sainsbury’s Bank does not apply charges for customers paying their premiums by direct debit
  • Maximum no-claims discount of up to 30% as standard
  • No-claims discount protection(3)
  • Cover for accidental damage – even by pets(4)

(1) Research conducted by TNS between 20 and 22 May 2008. A sample of 1002 GB adults, aged 16-64, representative of the GB adult population, were interviewed via onlinebus.
(2) The offer provides 20% discount when you take out combined buildings and contents cover online before 18/08/2008. New customers only.
(3) This is optional and requires an additional premium.
(4) Additional cover can also be purchased at an additional premium.

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