An update to your home often means updating your insurance policy to match your new space. Weekend warriors are often eager to remodel the kitchen or renovate a bathroom, but forget that those new stainless steel appliances require higher insurance coverage, and that jetted tub needs to be included in the policy as well.
Prior to making any renovations, it is always recommended to contact your local insurance agent and inform them of your plans. Of course, this is not to ask permission, but merely get advice, recommendations, and inform your insurance company of major changes. A major change constitutes anything that requires demolition or major construction such as adding a deck, room, or porch, renovating a major home area such as a kitchen, living space, bathroom, or making a home addition or layout change.
According to a national survey conducted by Trusted Choice®, a group of insurance agencies and financial firms, nearly 40 percent of homeowners who said they had significantly remodeled their homes had not updated their homeowner’s insurance policies to reflect these changes.
Keeping your insurance company in the loop is also important to ensure that your policy will provide insurance coverage for your planned improvements. Notifying your insurance company before the remodel even begins may also provide additional coverage for building materials, tools, and supplies you have in your house during the renovation.
Re-Evaluating Home Value
After a major renovation, the value of your home can be significantly impacted. Ideally, home improvements will add significant value. This is a definite benefit of remodeling, but many homeowners fail to increase their insurance coverage to match. In these cases, when disaster strikes, the value of the home is evaluated without any of the additional changes or improvements.
It is often a good idea to get a professional appraisal of your home value, to understand exactly what your home would be worth in today’s market. It is also important to update any home inventory you may have to include upgrades or renovation changes which add value to a home. Keep all of this information in a safe place that can be accessed in case of a disaster.
Upgrades for Savings
Many home upgrades may qualify for additional insurance discounts. For example, any safety upgrades may qualify for discounts on your premium. Heating, plumbing, or electrical system upgrades are also qualifiers for discounts.
Be completely thorough with any renovation by reporting the plan to your insurance company or agent as soon as you begin, or at least right after completion. Always take before and after pictures to document with your policy and ask your insurance company about any other requirements necessary to ensure that your updates have updated coverage.