TUESDAY, MAY 8, 2012
Major Improvements to the Interior or Exterior of Your House Can Significantly Change Your Insurance Needs
Talk to your insurance agent, broker or company representative before you start the project
Verify that your contractor has commercial insurance coverage
- Let your insurance agent know about your remodeling plans. Ask if you will need to update your homeowners insurance and whether you need other types of insurance to protect you financially during the project.
- If you are planning a simple, do-it-yourself project, only take it on if you are qualified to do the work. If friends or family are going to help out, make sure that you have sufficient liability protection in the event someone gets injured. This includes raising the amount of no-fault medical protection on your home insurance policy so that if someone is injured he or she can simply submit the doctor’s bills to your insurance company; this can lessen the risk of being sued.
- If you are planning a bigger project, look into a getting a builder’s risk policy (also known as a “course of construction” policy). It may be available as a stand-alone policy, or as an add-on to your homeowners policy. This coverage generally protects a home from damage incurred during construction, including wind and rain, theft of materials such as carpeting, tile or wood (though not the contractor’s equipment), and vandalism.
Keep records and receipts
- Ask to see a copy of your contractor’s insurance policies. The contractor should have both a commercial business/general liability insurance policy and workers compensation. It is important that the workers remodeling your home be adequately insured so that if a worker is injured he or she does not sue you.
- If the contractor is not adequately insured or is unwilling to verify their insurance coverage, consider hiring someone else.
Update your insurance coverage after the renovation
- Take photographs before, during and after the renovation so that you have a visual record of all of the work done on your home.
- Keep copies of any contractor contracts, and receipts for work done and materials purchased.
- If you purchase new belongings as part of the remodeling, keep receipts and add the information to your home inventory. ).
- Make sure that your insurance company knows about the improvements to your home. After a major renovation, you may need to increase the amount of insurance you have to rebuild your home. Be prepared to forward all records and receipts to your insurance company so that they can accurately assess your insurance needs.
- You may also need to purchase additional coverage for your personal possessions. If you have purchased art or other expensive items, find out whether you should purchase additional coverage in the form of a floater or endorsement. This is an individual policy for expensive items that provides a higher level of insurance coverage.
- Consider getting more liability protection if you added a swimming pool or hot tub as these are considered “attractive nuisances” and could leave your vulnerable to lawsuits. You may want to ask your insurance agent about getting an excess or umbrella liability policy as a cost-effective way to increase your overall liability protection.
Get free Texas homeowners insurance quote online or call 800-374-9227, www.shophoustoninsurance.com to update your homeowers policy.
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