On my recent road trip catching up with builders around the lower North Island pretty much everyone raised the issue of supply of materials. This included merchants out of stock, much longer lead times on ordering materials and cost increases across the board.

Some of you may be tempted, as a number of our clients are already, to build up your own stock levels. That way, if merchants run out at least you have some on hand and you can get by.

The value of this stock on hand can soon mount up, so you need to make sure it is covered by your insurance. Building materials are exposed to the usual risks of water damage, fire etc. And because they are in short supply, with prices rising every other week, are an increasingly attractive target for thieves too.

If these materials are allocated to a specific project then then can be covered by contract works insurance under the “offsite storage” extension. This has a sub-limit and is only for stuff for that job.

If you’ve bought materials that are not for a particular job then your best bet is to make sure it is covered under a material damage policy. You may already have one that covers your tools and equipment, and stock can generally be added under this too. This is likely to be an “anywhere in New Zealand” policy, so the stock is insured if stored at your yard, in your garage, in your vehicle (although this could be restricted in some cases) or on site. Be sure to increase your “sum insured” by the value of the stock you’re carrying.

If you own premises (eg. a building or yard) the insurance on that building could be changed to include stock as well. Check the stock sum insured on your current cover and make sure you increase it if needed. Depending on the wording of your policy the stock may only be insured at a specific address. If it might be transported or stored elsewhere you will need to notify your insurer.

A recent win and reminder!

In February a customer of ours had their vehicle broken in to and tools stolen. Unfortunately, they did not have proof of ownership for some of the larger items, and this delayed settlement of the claim. We fought hard on our customer’s behalf and when he managed to dig up some pictures of the items the claim was then settled quickly.

This is a timely reminder that proof of ownership will help get your claim settled swiftly. This could be an asset register such as a spreadsheet or app that holds details of your tools; receipts and invoices or photos. Ideally, you would record each item’s details, serial number, date purchased and value. The same goes for any stock that you’re building up.