Changes to Your Home That Might Affect Your Homeowners Insurance

August 12, 2019

A home is an ever-growing, ever-changing thing. Think back to when you first moved in – how many changes have you made since then to create your perfect space?

Just like your home, your homeowners policy is also in constant flux. Common changes to the interior or exterior of your home can affect the cost and/or coverage of your policy in either direction. If you’ve made any of the upgrades on this list, chat with your agent to discuss whether your policy should be updated.

  1. Adding a deck. Like many changes to your home, building a deck increases both value and risk. The added value to your home means that the replacement value, or cost of rebuilding the home, will also increase. You may need to adjust your dwelling coverage limit to make up for this change. Also take a look at your liability coverage, especially if the deck comes from the second floor of the house or higher; there is a greater chance of someone being injured in a fall, so you’ll want to be sure you’re sufficiently protected.
  2. Installing a pool or hot tub. Again, this greatly increases both value and risk, so talk to your agent about your dwelling and liability limits. Consider adding safety features like a pool alarm or a locked gate – it might help reduce your premium a bit, and (more importantly) it could also help save a life.
  3. Getting a trampoline. Trampolines are known for their inherent danger, but they’re also great fun and exercise when used responsibly. Some homeowners policies have a trampoline exclusion, meaning there is no liability coverage for any injuries resulting from trampoline use; additionally, some of these policies will not renew if the insurance company discovers that you have a trampoline on your property. Others will require certain safety measures, like a net surrounding the trampoline, in order to provide coverage. Definitely check with your agent before your buy or as soon as you can if you’ve already bought one.
  4. Building an addition. Expanding a home almost always increases its replacement value. Consider the amount of money you have put into building the addition – that’s probably close to the amount you’ll need to add to your dwelling coverage limit. Most insurance companies require this limit to be at least 80 percent of the replacement value of your home.
  5. Renovating the kitchen. A renovated kitchen can significantly increase value of your home, especially if adding higher-quality counter tops, appliances and new flooring. Like most of the changes we’ve listed here, that means raising your dwelling coverage limit. However – if plumbing and electric are updated during the renovation, be sure to mention it. Newer pipes and wires means a greatly decreased risk of fire or water damage, which can bring your policy price down.
  6. Re-doing the roof. Though expensive, replacing your roof is necessary every 20 years or so. The good news is that it could qualify you for a discount on your insurance because a new roof provides the best protection against wind, hail, and leaks. It won’t exactly pay for itself, but the protection will last you for decades to come.
  7. Building a fence. Unlike changes to the structure of your house itself, a fence falls under a different category of protection on your homeowners policy. Talk to your agent about raising your detached structures limit so that you can be sure that new (expensive) fence is covered in case something happens to it.