When you plan a home improvement project, you know to consider the cost of the paint and what kind of shelves you want. You know to measure twice and cut once, and to always read the warning labels on the products you use.
However, you should also consult your home insurance provider. Some projects can have major consequences if they aren’t planned properly. Other projects can decrease your premiums and add value to your property.
Read on for the home projects that can affect your policy and your premiums. Learn when to contact an agent and what surprises you should prepare for. With careful planning and collaboration with your insurance agent, your renovations will be solid as a rock.
What Projects Impact Home Insurance?
Any project has the potential to impact your insurance coverage depending on your home. You might not think a trampoline qualifies as a renovation, but it can present a risk in some situations. In windy regions, trampolines commonly cause fence or home damage. Here are some renovations that should always be communicated to your insurance agent:
• Decks and Porches, including Railings
• Swimming Pools or Trampolines
• Adding or Updating a Bathroom
• Updating the Kitchen
• Finishing the Basement or Adding Finished Square Feet
• Updating the Roof, Windows, or Doors
• Installing a Fireplace
Not all renovations require additional insurance or increase your premiums. Some projects can reduce household hazards and lower your liability. For example, improvements to your driveway visibility can reduce the risk of damage or injury. These projects can be as simple as the addition of floodlights facing the driveway.
Larger hazard-reducing renovations can take the form of a roof replacement or replacing the perimeter drainage to prevent water damage.
Contact Your Insurance Agent
Step one in any home renovation should be contacting your insurance agent. Your coverage should be updated to reflect any repairs or changes to your property. This includes do-it-yourself projects and work completed by contractors. By meeting with your agent before renovating, you are preventing any surprise gaps in coverage or unexpected premium hikes.
You should ensure that your insurance coverage is not limited to certain square footage or category of home. Adding an enclosed patio can raise your home’s value, but without proper insurance, one fallen tree could tank your investment. Once the work is complete, meet with your agent again to make sure everything is in order.
Codes and Permit Guidelines
Whether you’re using a contractor or doing the work yourself, it will be your responsibility to apply for and secure the needed permits. A contractor can help you with technical details, but you will have to contact the appropriate authority in your town to file the permit.
Should You Use a Contractor?
Using a licensed contractor for your project can save you a headache down the line. Perhaps you are less familiar with shower plumbing than you thought. Or maybe you want to make sure your new deck will hold up to rainy winters. Whether you use a contractor or not, you should be familiar with the related building codes and permits.
Doing work without a permit will result in a fine and/or an order to remove the renovations. Don’t end up in this sticky situation – the extra shed space is not worth it. Renovations that violate building codes can also impact your insurance. While you may not completely lose coverage, you will end up paying higher premiums or adding coverage until the problem is fixed.
Questions to Ask Your Contractor
Finding a contractor you trust with your home can be overwhelming. Ask for recommendations from friends, family, your insurance provider, or a local real estate agent. Refine your options by asking some simple questions. This will prevent you from running into complications at inspection time.
- Is the quote provided an estimate or final cost?
- When is payment expected?
- What forms of payment are accepted?
Supervision & Liability
- Who supervised the contractor’s job sites?
- Will a supervisor be on-site at all times?
- Does the contractor have full liability insurance?
Older Home Code Compliance
- If the contractor discovers a code violation in an older home, how do they rectify it?
- Is the contractor familiar with all current building codes?
- Who will complete an inspection when the work is completed?
While it may seem like a lot of effort for a simple deck or even trampoline, proper planning is essential for renovations. You and your insurance agent can work together to choose affordable coverage that includes your renovations. You might even find yourself saving money in the long run!
Florida Insurance Experts
Since 2005, Pablo Beach Insurance has been helping Florida residents by getting them the right coverage at the right price. We are locally owned, have a casual approach, and deliver professional results. Click below to get a no-hassle, free quote from one of our experts.