Owning a home comes with both responsibilities and rewards. So before buying, it’s important to do your homework to make sure the home fits your budget and lifestyle. It doesn’t matter if you built a new home or purchased an existing home, at some point, you’ll probably decide to make some improvements.

With access to so much information, some homeowners choose to tackle those “Do It Yourself” (DIY) projects. There are, however, many things to consider before you start: What part of the home is being remodeled? How much will it cost? How much time will it take? Do you have the room for equipment and materials? Once you have those answers, you may discover the DIY project should actually be handled by a professional. Insurance is an important factor in choosing a professional contractor.

You should find out if they have the proper insurance coverage to protect both themselves and you.   Ask for a copy of their insurance policy, called a Certificate of Insurance, to make sure they have general liability and workers’ compensation coverage. If the contractor is injured while working at your home or the newly installed dishwasher starts to leak, you want to be sure you’re covered.

When considering how much coverage you need for a home improvement project, the current value of your home is key. Regardless of whether you’re building an addition to your home or simply upgrading your kitchen cabinets, it makes sense to increase the value of your home on your insurance policy based on the improvement(s) you’re making. That also means increasing the amount of coverage on your policy. If there’s a loss during construction or after the work is complete, you don’t want to be underinsured. Remember, the most simple projects often turn into much bigger projects.

With West Bend’s Home and Highway® policy, we ask that you notify us within 90 days of completion of a project if it cost at least $5,000 or 5% of your current Coverage A limit for the guaranteed replacement cost coverage. Do you know what your policy requires?

Talking with your local independent agent before starting any home improvement project is a great idea. There are many things to discuss, including:

  • Will you be living in the home during the remodeling process or moving out for an extended period of time?
  • Do you have appropriate coverage for materials, like lumber and shingles, that will be stored outside the home?
  • What if you need to rent a large moving truck to pick up new windows you purchased? Will your auto policy cover the truck and windows if they’re damaged while in transit?
  • What if your new detached shed collapses during heavy winds before it’s completed?

These are just some of the things for which your insurance agent can make sure you have the right coverage.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them; please share them in the box below.

This blog was written by Sarah Faris, senior Personal Lines underwriter.

Topics: Home Insurance