Americans love their home renovations. Creating the perfect space has become a national pastime, and spending on home improvement in the United States continues to reflect that passion.
But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, something unexpected happened. The home improvement boom went through the roof! With so many people quarantining and working at home, people have been forced to use their homes more – and differently – than before. Some are renovating out of necessity, such as adding an office. Many renovate simply because they have the time and desire to build their homes.
How big is the COVID home renovation boom?
It is at a peak time according to Max Anderson ] Chief Economist at Porch.com, an online marketplace that connects homeowners with contractors. More than 75 percent of homeowners surveyed by Porch.com have completed at least one home improvement project since the COVID pandemic began, and 78 percent of them are planning at least one project next year.
But there is much more to do creating the perfect space than just choosing the right material, the perfect furniture or the best contractor.
The last thing many homeowners think of when creating their dream space is how their homeowners insurance can be affected.
In most cases, renovating your home will increase its value. But unexpected surprises during the process can put your renovation dreams seriously. It is important to understand how your conversion can affect your homeowner's insurance coverage. Here are five tips to help you avoid a costly surprise.
- Talk to your insurance company before starting work. If your renovation will increase the cost of repairing your home, definitely contact your insurance company. But contact them even if it is a minor renovation. They can provide invaluable advice on whether you need additional coverage or higher limits for your project, how the renovations will affect your homeowner's insurance and how you can mitigate your various risks. In other words, they can save you the unexpected financial surprises along the way.
- Make sure you are covered during the renovation. Do you hire contractors or do it yourself? Do you stay at home or do you move temporarily while the renovation is complete? These variables can affect your insurance needs and coverage. Your homeowner's policy also probably excludes theft of a home under construction, so you may need housing under construction coverage. And if you are moving out temporarily, you may want to consider covering vacant or vacant homeowners.
- Check that your contractor has current licensing and binding. Entrepreneurs must meet government requirements and binding requirements. But never assume that they play by the rules. Take the time to verify that all contractors in your project have current licensing.
- Check your contractor's insurance coverage. Get a copy of your contractor's general liability insurance policy and check that the coverage amounts are high enough to cover any losses in your project. Also, make sure that the contractor has sufficient insurance for employee compensation to cover all workers in your project. You do not want your homeowner's insurance to be on the hook for injuries to these workers.
- Think about the contract details. Always ask to be added as an additional insured to your contractor's policy, which gives you additional protection. Request that all Hold Harmless agreements be removed from the contract. And never agree to sign a contract that waives your insurer's right to subrogate. Not thinking about these details can be extremely costly if something goes wrong.
Are you considering renovating? Call your insurance agent and find out how your home insurance will be affected. The call can save a lot of money and headaches along the way.
Do not forget to plan your annual home insurance review. Contact a BNC agent or our personal insurance team for more information.