The 101 on homeowner’s insurance when renovating
Planning a home renovation can involve fun activities, such as designing a new floor plan or picking fixtures and paint colors. Having a heart-to-heart with your home insurance carrier may not be part of your preparations, but it should be.
If you’re getting ready to renovate, here are some things you need to know before you get started.
Let your insurer know
The value of your home will likely go up with the renovation, and your coverage limits may not be high enough if your home is damaged or destroyed. Talk to your insurance agent about your renovation plans before getting started to find out how and when to update your coverage.
Check if you need extra insurance
Find out how you’re covered for liabilities, like if a contractor or friend gets injured in your home, and talk with your agent about whether it’s enough. Renovations increase the likelihood of someone getting hurt, and most standard homeowners’ insurance policies aren’t cut out to handle that level of liability.
Can builders’ and contractors’ insurance cover yours?
Before starting the project, have a chat with your builder to see if their insurance covers the whole structure or just the part they’re working on. If they only have partial cover, it could be worth asking if you could pay them a bit more to upgrade the coverage to include your whole home.
DIY renovators need extra coverage
Most policies won’t cover homeowners undertaking their own renovations. If you are undertaking any part of the renovation project yourself, or coordinating as a project manager, then you may need builder’s insurance. It’s best to check with your insurer to see what they say.
Thinking of moving out while renovating? Think again!
Living through a renovation can be a nightmare, which is why it’s common to move out while renovating. However, some policies will become void if your home is unoccupied for longer than a specific amount of time, typically between 30 and 90 days.
If you’re thinking about moving out while you upgrade your kitchen and bathroom, you may need to think again. Some policies can lapse after just 30 days.
And after renovating, make sure to update your policy
After the renovation is finished and you’ve popped the champagne, contact your insurer to update your home and contents policy. If you were to accidentally damage your new marble bench or your new floor-to-ceiling window was to get smashed, it’s good to know you’re covered.
Policy coverage and restrictions can vary from one state to another, and from one carrier to another, so before you undertake any home renovation projects, call your agent — and take a few minutes to see what other homeowners have to say about their insurance companies.