Though the results are worth it, home remodeling construction is usually a messy and disruptive process with lots of heavy equipment, sharp tools, and other potential dangers. Don't put your home improvement efforts and resources at risk: when undertaking a remodeling project, make sure that the house, the contractor and the subcontractors have adequate insurance coverage.
Here are some guidelines.
- Don’t wait until an addition or extra room is completed. Contact your insurance agent or representative before—or shortly after—construction begins in order to increase the homeowners insurance coverage on your house to an amount that reflects the higher value of the rebuilt structure. That way, if the new addition is destroyed or damaged, you will be covered for the cost of repairing or rebuilding the improved structure.
- Verify the insurance coverage of the contractor and the subcontractors. If the coverage is insufficient, you may need to fill in the gaps by extending the limits of the liability portion of your homeowners policy.
- When hiring a general contractor, ask to see a copy of his or her workers compensation policy. Workers compensation pays for medical and rehabilitation expenses and covers lost wages if the laborers sustain injuries on the job—but injured workers may sue you if the contractor does not have proper insurance.
- In most home improvement projects, the contractor subcontracts the builders, electricians and plumbers. If the workers hired are not full-time employees of the contractor, they may not be covered under the contractor's workers compensation policy. While some independent builders, electricians and plumbers carry their own workers comp coverage, others may not. Again, verify the status and adjust your own insurance accordingly.
- If you purchase additional items, such as furniture, exercise equipment or electronics, you may need to increase the amount of insurance you have on your personal possessions. Keep receipts and add them to your home inventory.
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