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Hammer it Home: How to Insure Home Improvements

SEATTLE, Wash. - Summer is the perfect time to get outside and take advantage of the warm weather. It also happens to be a ‘hot’ time to do home improvement projects. As your to-do list grows chances are thinking about adjusting your home insurance doesn’t rank at the top. Lucky for you we’re here to help make sure nothing is missed during all the mess.

Whether you’re doing a remodel, complete renovation, or a simple DIY project it’s important to think what that work could mean for your homeowner’s policy.

Home insurance is based on a variety of criteria - the size of your home, location, risks, and age all come into play when a carrier considers price and protection for your home. Home improvement projects can alter and change the criteria originally considered for your home policy which means if you’re not careful you may not be covered.

Breaking It Down

Your 20-year old kitchen is in serious need of some upgrades – new countertops, new cabinets, new hardwood floors, add some stainless steel appliances – what’s old is now new. So, would your current coverage be enough to rebuild your new kitchen if something happened? Maybe - but maybe isn’t an answer you want to hear when it comes to insurance.

Underinsured = Overwhelmed

Anytime you’re looking to get insurance, it’s critical to look at all your options, especially when we talk about your home. Unfortunately, too often we hear stories of homeowners who think they are properly protected only to find themselves in trouble following a fire or weather disaster.  

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, more than half of all homes are NOT properly insured. According to industry experts, the average U.S. home is underinsured by more than 20 percent. That’s BEFORE any remodels, renovations or DIY projects.

Home insurance policies vary by carrier, available coverages, types of covered losses, and type of residence. A significant discussion with your agent should include how a policy handles replacement cost verses actual cash value. Do you have the right valuation, amount of coverage and other endorsements to provide the cost it actually takes if a fire destroyed your new remodel?

New Can Mean Less

When we talk about home improvement projects chances are you will see an increase in your insurance premium. But there are some projects which could help offset some of the increase and you may not even know it.

Getting a new roof isn’t the most exciting project but when it comes to your insurance a new roof could mean more savings in the long run – in some cases as much as 20 percent. This definitely holds true in areas affected by wind, hail, snow and rain. Also, if you’ve considered installing a home monitoring system certain credits may apply towards your home policy. These kinds of discounts vary by carrier and state so it’s always a good idea to talk with your agent and ask if these solutions could help lower your premium.

It’s common practice for people to call their insurance agent when they decide to buy a new car – the same thing should happen when it comes to one of the biggest investments you’ll likely make – your home.

We advise our clients to review their home policy every couple of years but if you’re planning to do any work at all to your home or your property it’s a great time to check your coverages, even before the project is done. Increasing coverages during the process is just as important as increasing coverage once the work is done.