Remodeling your home, or making improvements, can be exciting and fun. Besides choosing the best floors, cabinets, finishes or contractor, you need to consider how your remodel might impact your home insurance. Renovations can affect your rates and may require additional coverage to ensure you’re fully protected.
Do contractors or workers need to have insurance?
Definitely. Before renovations begin, ask your contractor for a copy of their insurance policy to make sure they have liability and workers compensation insurance. Even if you’re just doing tree trimming or landscape work other than by your regular gardener, you still need to get certificates of insurance.
Why? Your home insurance doesn’t provide coverage for a worker being hurt on the premises (unless they are an occasional domestic employee). This is true of any home insurance policy, with any carrier. The best way to protect yourself is to get certificates of liability and workers compensation from anyone working on your property so that you’re not left footing the bill if someone is injured on the job.
Are you adding square footage to the house?
If you’re building a new addition onto your home, you’re likely increasing its replacement value, or the cost to repair or replace the property. You’ll likely want to increase your policy’s dwelling coverage limit to reflect this higher cost. Some projects could also mean adding more belongings, like new furniture, so you’ll want to consider increasing your contents coverage as well.
While this may make insurance premiums rise, it’s important to keep your insurance company in the loop about updates to your home so that you have enough coverage if you have a loss.
Will your construction cause you to be away from your house for an extended period?
Does living in the dust and chaos often caused by home renovations make you uneasy, or will your remodel limit your access to the basics like electricity and water? If so, you might not want to live in your property while under construction. While this might be the better living arrangement, your home insurance likely won’t cover perils like vandalism and theft if the dwelling has been vacant for more than 60 consecutive days prior to the loss. As such, you may want to consider vacant or unoccupied home insurance. Many companies offer this type of policy as an add-on to your home insurance.
Are you installing a pool?
Pools can impact your home insurance in two ways 1) pools are expensive to build and replace so they can increase the rebuild cost of your entire property, and 2) pools can also be a liability hazard.
If someone is injured in a pool-related accident and decides to take legal action, you’ll likely be responsible for paying out the damages. So, if you’re adding pool, check with your insurance agent to clarify if it's covered under the liability section of your policy (and consider getting an umbrella policy too for extra liability).
This blog post is not offered, and should not be relied on, as insurance advice. You should consult an insurance agent for advice in specific situations.