The Federation of Master Builders

Ensuring you stay protected during COVID-19

Published date: 07 April 2020

On 26 March 2020, the FMB issued advice to members that only emergency and critical construction work should be allowed to continue due to the COVID-19 situation. In such difficult and uncertain times, we understand that many businesses are looking for ways they can save money particularly as they are being asked to stop working.

Whilst many individuals will want to consider cancelling their insurance policies, it is important to understand the implications of this. There are many reasons why we advise you not to cancel, in order to protect yourselves and prevent possible further loss of income. You should consider the following:

  • Do you currently have buildings and sites left unoccupied?
  • Are your tools, plant or vehicles being stored at your sites?
  • Are you covered if a third party enters your site and either injures themselves or carries out malicious damage, theft or vandalism?
  • Is your project nearing completion and therefore items such as white goods, boilers and new kitchen and bathroom suites are left in the property?

At this vulnerable time, it is possible that we will see a rise in thefts. It is vital your Public Liability Insurance cover remains in place. The property is still at risk of people trying to enter whilst no one is around, be it a member of the public or a homeowner. Claims could be made against you for negligence during that period and for claims that may arise in the future. It is also a legal requirement to maintain Employers Liability Insurance as a Limited company or as a Sole Trader who pays employee’s and/or subcontractors, even if you have taken advantage of the Government Job Retention Scheme.

If you have cover to protect your tools, materials and vehicles, we advise you to maintain these covers to provide additional peace of mind. Unoccupied Buildings Insurance should also be considered, particularly if you’re waiting to sell a property or have a delayed exchange. A monthly fee to keep up your cover protects you against a potential bigger loss that could occur due to theft or damage whilst your property is vacant.

You may not require the same levels of cover you have in place whilst you are working. The team here at FMB Insurance will be happy to talk you through the options available to you if you need to temporarily reduce cover whilst projects are suspended.

We have also put together a list of common questions and answers which you may find useful at this time:

Q: Does my Business Interruption Insurance cover the current COVID-19 situation?

A: Sadly, COVID-19, which is a global pandemic, is excluded from most Public Liability policies.

Q: What are the implications of me cancelling my policies?

A: Cancelling means you will not be covered if any damage and/or injury occurs to either the property and/or individuals or any theft takes place whilst the site is vacant.

Q: Should we notify FMB Insurance if we close our sites down?

A: Yes you should let us know when you close your sites down and also when you start up again. We can then make sure your insurers are aware.

Q: We are currently unable to sell the houses we have built. Can I protect them whilst vacant?

A: Yes you can. We advise looking into our Unoccupied Building Insurance. This policy ensures you are protected for loss of income should the building be damaged by situations including; fire and storms, theft, water leaks, subsidence or malicious damage.

Q: Does my policy cover me under the current conditions to continue carrying out works?

A: There is no change to your policy cover, providing you work safely and in line with government guidance and Site Operating Procedures, as published by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC).

Q: If we have to stop work mid-way through a project, will my policy cover unfinished works, such as an extension or new build, if left unattended for a long period of time due to COVID – 19?

A: Yes, providing that you have Contract Works Insurance as part of your Contractors Liability policy.

Q: Is there anything FMB Insurance can do to help me during this period?

A: Yes, we can offer lots of useful guidance to make sure your business is protected and help with payments if you pay for your insurance on a finance basis. We also offer support and advice with links to useful helplines. These can be found on our website and social media pages.

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