Home Improvement? Put Down the Hammer and Read This

October 9, 2018

You’re finally in a place where you can make those renovations you’ve dreamt of since you bought the house – the updated kitchen, the addition, the Back Deck 2.0 – but before you get started (or before you go any further, if we caught you red-handed), it’s important to contact us about your homeowner’s insurance!

But why?

1. You need to make sure that your homeowners policy has sufficient limits, and that it covers property that may be displaced during construction.

An addition or significant upgrade will likely raise the replacement value of your home, meaning it will cost more to rebuild in the event of a total loss. Failure to adjust your limits could leave you only partially covered if something happens to your house. On the other hand, some changes may actually qualify you for a discount on your policy because they enhance the safety of your house. Updating plumbing, heating, or electrical systems; putting on a new roof; or adding a security system are all upgrades that are worth mentioning.

You also want to know whether your existing policy will cover personal property, such as furniture, that needs to be stored off-premises during construction. Insurance companies may cover items stored in a unit on your property, but not at a storage unit in town. We can help you be sure that your belongings are protected.

2. You should know what to ask your general contractor and/or subcontractors to ensure that any losses during construction won’t put you in hot water.

There are several layers of insurance protection that need to be in place during a remodel – and your existing homeowners policy is only one. Be careful to only hire contractors who are licensed, bonded and insured. Licensing is easy to check; you can look it up here. As for “bonded and insured,” you are well within your rights to request a copy of your contractor’s insurance policy and surety bonds. Ask us to take a look at the policy and help you understand whether someone is sufficiently protected for your project.

3. You might consider purchasing a builders risk policy for the course of construction, depending on the project.

 Many people are familiar with builders risk for new construction, but did you know that you can take out a policy when working on an existing structure, too? This type of policy covers equipment and materials left on your property during the building process, and also covers the newly constructed (or under-construction) portions of the house. Some insurance companies will require a builders risk policy at renewal in order to maintain your existing coverage. Talk to one of our agents to find out whether a builders risk policy makes sense for you.

Taking on a home renovation project is stressful enough – so let us give you the peace of mind in knowing that you’re fully covered if something goes…differently than planned.