Remodeling My House
Remodeling can be both a passion and a chore. But usually the end result is worth it. To do it right, start your home improvement project on a solid foundation. Call your team at Eastern Insurance Group LLC and let us “hammer out” a protection plan that can bear some weight - from the ‘Before’ to the ‘After’.
Hiring a contractor? Check his insurance
Congratulations! A home remodel is an exciting undertaking and a professional contractor can definitely help. But what does this have to do with your insurance? When hiring a contractor, it is very important that you check his insurance, and how it extends to employees or potential sub-contractors. If your contractor doesn’t have adequate insurance protection in place and one of the workers gets injured on the job - your house - they might end up suing you and you could be held responsible.
Protect yourself. Only hire a licensed and bonded contractor. Ask to see the insurance policy so you can make sure that it is active and that the limits are adequate. It is absolutely okay to ask for an insurance certificate from your contractor. The contractor and his/her insurance agent should happily provide it. You should also confirm your
contractor’s licensing status with the Massachusetts Labor & Industries Department. There are three major parts of a contractor’s insurance policy:
- Worker’s Compensation: Applies when an employee or sub-contractor gets injured on the job site. Worker’s Comp covers medical/rehabilitation expenses and lost wages for the worker. If the contractor’s limits are not adequate, an injured worker may sue you. On a side note: If you assume the role of being your own General Contractor, you may have to purchase worker’s comp insurance before you hire sub-contractors. Contact the Massachusetts State Department of Labor and Industries for more information.
- General Liability: Covers negligence on the contractor’s part which causes injury or property damage to others.
- Builder’s Risk: Covers damage to your home and materials, including materials that haven’t been installed yet.
Are you your own General Contractor? The risk may be greater than the savings!
If you function as the General Contractor and hire sub-contractors to work in or on your home, you may be held responsible in case of an accident or an injury to a worker or to a third party (for example, a neighbor’s child walks by your house just as one of the worker’s on your roof accidentally drops his hammer and it hits the child).
Your homeowner’s policy may provide some liability coverage, but it may not be enough to cover your assets if you are sued for liability and medical costs.
SWorker’s comp is not always required by law but if you are in the situation of hiring sub-contractors to work in or on your home and property, you may want to purchase worker’s comp insurance for your own protection.
Since this is a very complicated topic with many variables, you should speak with us before hiring anybody.
D-I-Y (Do-It-Yourself) project? Some are covered, some are not.
You are painting this weekend! It’s a long-postponed project, but finally, you are tackling it. Sunday night, you are exhausted. When you’re done, you hurry to pick everything up. You put your rollers, brushes and drop cloths into a trash bag, tie it up and throw it in the garage. But you forget that crumpled up, paint-stained drop cloths are highly combustible. If this caused a fire, would you be covered by your homeowner’s insurance?
In this situation, yes, there would be coverage. A fire loss that happens suddenly and accidentally, even if caused (as in this example) by negligence, is covered by your homeowner’s policy.
Here's another scenario.
You and your spouse have decided to remodel the bathroom. Rather than hire a contractor you decide to do it on your own. You thought you had done everything up to code but three months later you notice a leak. You’ve noticed that a puddle has collected between the toilet and the vanity. You mop it up, only to find it there again the next night. If you look closely, you can see fine hairline cracks.
You think of your homeowner’s insurance. Would your D-I-Y project be covered at all?
Generally, your finished D-I-Y home improvement project would be covered for all the common perils insured on a homeowner’s policy, whether you do the work or a contractor does the work. But the perils covered on a homeowner’s policy have to be sudden and accidental occurrences.
In the above situation, there might not be coverage. What happened here is a mistake; a construction defect. There are workmanship exclusions on a homeowner’s policy that apply whether the work was done by a contractor or the property owner. If the damage in this example was caused by faulty workmanship, not by a sudden and accidental occurrence, the loss would not be covered by your homeowner’s policy. However, had you hired a contractor, you could sue him for repairs and or hold him responsible to fix the damage.
Note: Water Note: water damage that happens over time (like a slow leak that causes dry rot) is generally excluded from coverage on your homeowner’s policy. So, it is critical to address any suspicious leaks immediately.
For specific details or questions, please contact Eastern Insurance Group LLC at 1-800-333-7234.
Major Remodel? Insure the “After” before it’s too late
If you plan a major remodel like an addition, a new deck, or a significant upgrade, be sure to call your trusty insurance agents at Eastern Insurance to inform us about the scale of the remodel you are planning.
The replacement value of your home may now be significantly greater than it was before, and your homeowner’s policy limits might not be enough to cover your house if you have a total loss. Also, if you have an extended replacement coverage endorsement - very important - your policy contract requires that you inform your insurance company of any significant change in value. Finally, if you purchased new furniture or electronics, you need to adjust the personal property limits on your homeowner’s policy.
However, don’t wait until all the work is done. During the construction phase, you may have a significant amount and dollar value of supplies stored on your property. If these building materials are stolen or destroyed before your remodel is finished, there may be inadequate coverage.
So don’t let your excitement be dampened by unforeseen incidences. Give us a call before the ‘After’, to make sure you’re covered.
How certain remodels can save you money on your homeowner’s insurance
If you did a major remodel that included updating certain systems such as:
- Roof replacement
- Security system
- Or other features that improve the safety of your home...
Please call us at 1-800-333-7234 to find out if you qualify for a new discount on your homeowner’s policy today!