Keeping your family, visitors, and home safe during a renovation.
Homes work best when they serve the purposes of their owners. A desirable residence may have been built with features the owners love or perhaps a desirable, existing home was found and purchased. Of course, as time passes, needs change and different homes may be sought. Often, because a current home is still loved, many owners may choose to make changes, choosing the renovation route. Whether projects are performed by the homeowners or by contractors, insurance considerations arise.
Types of Renovations
Renovations tend to be significant, involving actions such as the following:
- Walls may be moved or even removed to facilitate a new living space
- Additional wiring, ducting, fixtures and plumbing may occur
- Additional structures may be added extend the homes living space
- Areas that were previously in a mere functional state, such as attics or basements may be altered into living or recreational areas
- Ground excavations may be made as a part of those changes
These activities can create additional chances for loss to occur. Some are temporary (consider an exposed circuit board) while others will be permanent (a room addition with a raised floor). Building materials, fixtures, and appliances may be stored on the premises while work is performed. Various work that is not usual to regular household activity may take place for days, weeks or even months. Outsiders may have extended access to the property as the changes take place.
Property and Liability Concerns
It is important to take the time to review your insurance coverage to make sure that protection is in place. There are both property and liability concerns you may need to be aware of at all times. You must be sure that all additional property and materials related to the renovation are covered, particularly from theft, fire or other sources of loss. Generally, homeowner policies will extend their limits to protect property used to repair, maintain, or alter the home or related structures such as sheds or detached garages.
Another aspect of renovation is to be sure that your policy's liability limits are sufficient to handle injuries to other persons not from your household. For example, visitors to your home could break a leg stumbling over a stack of lumber in your driveway, a child's friend could suffer lacerations when she picks up and turns on a power tool, rented mobile equipment for digging could slip out of park and damage a neighbor's landscaping or fencing.
If contractors are hired to perform the work, they can cause accidents that result in injuries to persons and damage to your property or the property of your neighbors. It is critical that you get proof that the business performing work on your property are adequately bonded or have the proper insurance in place to cover these unexpected events.
Increasing Your Coverage
Once changes are complete, the renovated property may be considerably more valuable. A final step may be to have your property inspected and determine whether your policy's insurance limits should be increased. It would be a tragedy to ignore insurance implications which could result in an uncovered loss. Additionally, you should consult with your local municipality before starting any remodels to make sure you comply with all current state and local ordinances that may have been put in place after your home was built or after any previous remodeling projects. Be sure to check out our related article to learn more about how local ordinances can affect home remodeling projects.
Be sure to check your homes current insurance policy and with your Williams Insurance experts before and after any renovation.
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