Home Improvements: 5 tips to avoid an expensive cost
Remodeling your home is a strategic way to increase the current value of your property. Home improvements can be large or small; however it is important to have the right type of insurance and the right amount of coverage. You should always advise your insurance broker prior to any remodel or home improvement as the insurance policy will usually require changes. Your home is one of your largest investments, with the following 5 steps you can have an increased peace of mind that your investment is securely protected.
1. Discuss all home remodeling or renovation plans with your insurance broker.
In Alberta, most homeowner insurance policies do not cover major home improvements. Ask your broker what coverage you may need; even a small project can have liability implications to you (the homeowner). For a larger project, it is best to consider a course of construction policy. No matter the size of your project, be sure to discuss this with your insurance broker before starting the remodel or renovation to get sound advice on what your best options are for correct coverage.
2. Find the right contractor.
We`ve all heard the horror stories of contractors not completing the work or not doing the right work. Before allowing a contractor to start on any work be sure to do some research on them. Inquire about the contractors pervious jobs; ask for an endorsement letter and a copy of their commercial liability policy, a reputable contractor will be happy to share this information with you. For added assurance, check with resources online such as YELP, Google Review, and the Better Business Bureau. You can find honest reviews from real people to help determine if the contractor is a good fit for your project.
3. Store all records and receipts.
Keeping track of your home improvements before, during, and after the project is vital for insurance purposes as records can help determine the replacement value of your home. Keep receipts of all the work completed in the home. Be sure to have a written legal renovation/remodel contract with the contractor you choose, this will also ensure that the contractor cannot deny any services or warranties given at the beginning of the project. Also take photographs before, during and after the remodeling project. This provides a virtual record of what the property looked like during each phase.
4. Update your insurance policy after the project is completed.
Let your broker know when any home improvements are made. Insurance amounts may need to be increased following a renovation. In some cases the insurance company may ask for copies of receipts for your improvement or renovation. This helps them assess needs and assign accurate values and coverages based on the improvements. The broker will be able help determine if any valuable items should be scheduled specifically to your policy or if your liability coverage may need to be increased if a pool or spa was added. An umbrella policy may be the right solution for this situation.
5. Ensure proper building permits are approved by the municipality
Building permits ensure that structures comply with zoning requirements, fire and structural safety standards, and various other standards in the Building Code. In sum, they make sure that your home is safe to occupy. The contractor who is building or renovating your home is usually responsible for obtaining the building permit (make sure to state this in your renovation contract). Keep in mind that you could be fined if you’re caught constructing, renovating, or demolishing a building without a permit. Ultimately, it’s up to you (the homeowner) to make sure that the correct permit has been obtained. For more information on building permits contact your local municipality.
Be sure to talk to your broker about discounts. Some insurers also offer larger discounts to people who install more sophisticated burglar alarm systems, sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems or other devices. People who update their plumbing, electricity, roof or windows may also qualify for discounts. In areas prone to water damage, and/or sewer back-up; installation of sump pumps, back water valves, or water sensors can result in additional discounts and increased coverage limits.
Contact us at Alpine Insurance today to review all your insurance needs!
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