Remodeling Your Home
Changes To Your Home Can Change Your Insurance
You can’t wait to see the result of all your hard work and spent money because living through a remodel is never fun. Cooking on the barbeque because you can’t cook in the kitchen or eating out a lot. Sleeping somewhere other than your own bed or having to shower in the basement because the main bathroom is out of order.
You may have thought about the inconveniences and the costs, but have you thought about your insurance policy? It’s possible you haven’t when you have to think about paint swatches, tile samples, contractor bids and trips to the hardware store.
But it pays to start your home improvement project on a solid foundation. Your team at Secure Insurance Solutions can help you figure out a protection plan that protects you before you start and all the way until after the work is done. Get in touch with one of our brokers today.
- Hiring a contractor? Check his insurance (and yours, too).
- Are you your own General Contractor? It might not save you money.
- D-I-Y Project? Some are covered, some are not (but not because you did it yourself).
- Major remodel? Insure the “After” before it’s too late.
- You can save money on your Homeowners Insurance with certain remodels.
Check Your Contractor’s Insurance
The kitchen you’ve always dreamed off — it’s finally happening. For such a major remodel you hired a contractor — after all he’s the pro and you only want to be out of commission for a couple of months instead of the five or six it would take you to do it.
You feel good about your decision. So why do you need to think about insurance?
Well, what if your contractor or one of his subcontractors gets hurt while working on your kitchen? When you hire contractor, it’s very important that you check his insurance, and how it extends to his employees or potential sub-contractors.
Protect yourself. Only hire a licensed and bonded contractor. And don’t be shy about asking to see the insurance policy so that you know it’s in force and includes adequate limits.
There are three major parts of a contractor’s insurance policy:
- Worker’s Comp: Covers medical/rehabilitation expenses and lost wages for the worker if injured on the job. If the contractor’s limits are not adequate, an injured worker may sue you.
- General Liability: Covers negligence by the contractor which causes injury or property damage to others.
- Builder’s Risk: Covers damage to your home and materials, including materials that haven’t been installed yet.
Are You Your Contractor? It Can Be Risky
Thinking about opening up your main floor for a more open concept? Or maybe you want to add a second story to the house to give you more room because you just love the neighbourhood.
It sounds great right? More room, more comfort and your home’s value increases. Now to save a little money, you figure you can act as the General Contractor. You don’t have to do the work just organize, orchestrate and order supplies. It’s simple project management, right?
It’s definitely not that easy. If any of the sub-contractors you hire to do the work get hurt in your home, or any of them hurt a third party like a neighbour or pizza delivery person, you can be held responsible.
Your Homeowners Insurance may provide some liability coverage, but it may not be enough to cover your assets if you’re sued for liability and medical costs.
Workers Compensation may be something you want to think about. This is complicated so be sure to talk to one of our expert brokers at Secure Insurance Solutions for your own protection.
All in all, you might be better off both financially and in terms of risk if you hire a licensed and bonded contractor with the insurance and the experience. You already have enough to worry about!
You Can Do-It-Yourself, But Can You Pay For Any Mishaps?
You and your spouse tackle a bathroom remodel. You get it done and it’s absolutely gorgeous and your feet stay warm with that radiant heat under the new slate floor. You did it right — you got the permits, made sure you installed and sealed new pipes, everything’s done to code.
Three months later, there’s a leak.
You wipe it up. It’s back the next day. And when you start looking really carefully, you see fine hairline cracks in the wall and the paint looks really dark. Is this project covered because you did it yourselves?
Generally, whether you do the work or a contractor does it, your D-I-Y home project is covered for all the common perils. But those perils are due to sudden and accidental occurrences. So in this case, there might not be coverage.
This isn’t a sudden or accidental peril. It’s a construction defect. And that wouldn’t be covered under your Home Insurance policy.
However, had you hired a contractor, you could sue him for repairs and or hold him responsible to fix the damage.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Water damage that happens over time (like a slow leak that causes dry rot) is generally excluded from coverage on your homeowners policy. Always address any suspicious leaks immediately. They don’t go away on their own.
Are You Covered “AFTER” A Major Remodel?
When you’ve done a major remodel, like added a second story to your house, contact your insurance broker right away. If something happens to your home without informing your insurance broker of the change, your replacement value that was on your original Homeowners Insurance policy is what you’ll get. Even if you added a significant amount of value to your house with the remodel.
It’s best to call your broker at Secure Insurance Solutions before you even start your remodel. We might be able to give you some insurance tips or help you think of some things you didn’t think of before, and most importantly update the replacement value in your policy.
This will also help you during the construction phase. You may have a significant amount (and dollar value) of supplies stored on your property. If these building materials are stolen or destroyed before your remodel is finished, there may be inadequate coverage.
Some Remodels Can Save You Money
It felt like a lot of work to replace the old wood-burning fireplace with a gas fireplace. But now it’s done.
You used to pay an insurance premium for the old wood-burning fireplace. With the update, you can now save some money on your insurance.
In fact if you did a major remodel that included updating any of these systems:
- Putting on a new roof
- A security system
- Or other features that improve the safety of your home…
… Give us a call at 519-986-3250 and share the news so we can help you save some money.