Q & A: Do I need to update my homeowners insurance if I renovate?
Q: Do I need to update my homeowners insurance if I renovate?
The Marble Answer:
Let’s be honest, after a year spent living more or less inside the same four walls, who hasn’t imagined a grand home renovation? We heard from one of our Marble members who got so tired of her apartment that she threatened to demolish the living room wall herself. If you also feel ready for a change, make sure you get your insurance in order before taking a sledgehammer to your fireplace.
First things first: You’ll want to start by talking to your insurance provider. Even if it’s just a lite do-it-yourself project, you should still remind yourself of what your homeowners policy covers. And if friends or family plan to help out, triple check that you have sufficient liability protection, just in case Uncle Joe drops a hammer on his foot.
For larger projects, you might consider a builder’s risk policy. (These are sometimes known as “course of construction” policies). In general, policies like this protect a home against any damage incurred during construction, including the theft of materials, vandalism, and weather-related issues. They can be standalone policies or supplemental to your current homeowners coverage. And you should absolutely confirm that your contractor has insurance, both commercial and general liability. You want the workers in your home to be adequately protected, because a) that’s smart business, and b) you don’t want to end up on the wrong end of a lawsuit.
Document your home before, during, and after the renovation. Keep copies of all contracts and receipts. Then, once the work is completed, you’ll want to get back in touch with your insurance provider. A larger renovation may mean an increase to your coverage. That said, if you installed stronger doors, updated sprinkler systems, or added storm shutters, for example, you may qualify for a discount. Some amenities, like swimming pools and hot tubs, could make your home more vulnerable to lawsuits (we live in a country that loves a lawsuit, after all!). Receipts and documentation can help your provider accurately assess changing insurance needs.
Finally, if your home renovations resulted from a life-changing event — like a new baby or starting a home-based business, for instance — you may need to consider reevaluating your insurance needs more generally.
Whether you’re adding new countertops or an entire new wing (it’s cool that you live in Downtown Abbey), you’ll want to protect yourself and any additions to your home with the proper insurance. With Marble, we make it easy to organize your various policies, so you know you’re covered whatever comes up.