After sifting through countless decorating magazines and viewing dozens of renovation shows, you have decided to go for it and to renovate your home! You have already chosen your paint colours, your materials, and you have already braced yourself for the financial and emotional rollercoaster ride, but there is one thing that might have gone under your radar, i.e. your insurance coverage! Assurances Multi-Risques wants to give you a few pointers on the subject in order to spare you possible future insurance woes. In this article, we will essentially be concentrating on inhabited homes, but if you are planning on doing a flip, don’t worry, we’ll be providing an article on the subject in the coming weeks.
Contacting your home insurer, yes or no?
Whatever the scope of the work you are planning, we think that you should contact your insurer to inform him of your project since your current coverage could be insufficient to adequately protect you through this process. Contact your insurance broker or agent in order to determine your coverage and to make any necessary adjustments in order to be able to concentrate fully on your renovation project.
Major and minor renovations: What’s the difference?
As insurance brokers, we were able to do a general survey of the insurance industry in order to determine what is considered minor and major renovations. In the following paragraphs, you will find a summary of these two categories of work, but be aware that each insurance company carries its particulars and a list of exceptions!
For most insurers, a minor renovation is a project that does not entail work on the exterior and load bearing structures of your house, i.e. projects such as:
- Redoing a bathroom;
- Changing the floor coverings;
- Replacing the roof;
- Adding a garage;
- Finishing the basement.
Simply put, a minor renovation is quite straightforward work to be done on a fairly short timeline. That said, you must still contact your insurer in order to make sure that your coverage is adequate during the work process.
As you have probably guessed it, major renovations are things that have to do with the exterior and load bearing structures of your house:
- Adding on to the residence
- Redoing the house’s plumbing and electricity
- Redoing the whole inside of the house (stripping the interior to the studs)
This type of work will require a more in-depth analysis on your part and on that of your insurer.
Major renovation: How to ensure adequate coverage
First of all, if you a hiring a general contractor to do the work, we strongly recommend that you check to see if he is a licensed contractor with the Régie du bâtiment du Québec by clicking on the following link. You should also make sure that your contractor carries liability insurance and construction site and/or installation insurance. Once again, contacting your insurance broker or agent before starting work is essential in order to avoid problems. Good planning is essential to your project’s success!
If you decide to do the work yourself with the help of a few friends, contacting your insurance company before work starts is even more important! Indeed, if you wait until the work has started, your insurance company might refuse to cover you. You must also add insurance protection that will cover any material or tool theft during the process. The most important thing that you must do, however, is to add a civil liability clause indicating that your house is currently under renovation. By doing this, you will automatically be adding a manager liability extension and a voluntary indemnifying clause to your contract.
Shopping for a new sink, carefully choosing your decorative items, selecting your wall colours, and choosing your new furnishings is much more exciting than updating your insurance coverage, but you still want to make sure that your future decor is well insured! We therefore suggest that you contact an independent insurance broker who specializes in major renovation projects. Once your insurance is taken care of, you will be able to confidently get things going.
Ready, set, go! Grab your hammer!