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So you think you are ready to begin a renovation or construction project. You have your plans and permits and have been put on a builder's calendar, but have you thought about your insurance? Renovating or building a home can often seem like an overwhelming task. Many people are faced with one hundred decisions ranging from tile selection to paint colors and to many, insurance is the last thing on their mind during this stressful time. But insurance is a necessary and crucial step in your remodeling or building project. Whether breaking new ground or renovating a kitchen or bath, there are areas where insurance issues come into play. Ask yourself these questions before you begin.
Is your contractor properly insured? The three most important things to look for when hiring a contractor are references, a Certificate of Insurance and Workers Compensation insurance. Having a builder or contractor that is reputable and insured protects you if there are any accidents or damage done to your home during your project. Not only should the contractor be insured, but they should carry enough insurance to cover your home. So if it would cost you $500,000 to rebuild your home if there were to be a total loss, you want to make sure that your contractor is carrying at least $500,000 in insurance. Your contractor should also have workers compensation coverage so in the event that they, or one of their employees, is injured while on the job they will not sue you. In some cases, the contractor is able to exclude themselves from their policies and only cover their employees. Make sure that your contractor is covered too.
Are you protected during construction? During construction your home is exposed to additional risks. Building risks can range from building materials that are left around the work site to your home being exposed to fire or Burglary. Your insurance company or agent can tell you how to protect your home while under construction.
Do you have enough insurance? You are adding value to your home at each stage of your project. At the beginning you may only have building materials , but by the end you have added significant. Make sure your insurance company knows about your project. They can help you determine how to insure your home so if you were to have a loss, you would receive enough money to rebuild or repair your home, including the new value you have added since starting your project. By the time the builders pack up and pull away be sure that your insurance reflects all that you now have invested in your home.
How to Protect your Home during Construction: Here are a few things that you or your contractor can do to minimize the chance of losses during your construction project. A home under construction is more susceptible to fire. Keep a sufficient number of fire extinguishers available throughout your home and if you have a fire alarm already installed, do not have it disconnected. A home under construction is an attractive target for theft or vandalism. Installing motion-activated lighting, perimeter fencing and securing the house each day can help minimize the chance of loss while vacant. Ask your contractors to clean up every day. Construction materials can be dangerous, even combustible. Make sure that debris is removed regularly to cut down on the likelihood of injury or fire.
Possible Claims during construction: You may be surprised at the type of accidents or damages that can happen during a renovation or construction project. Your insurance is there to protect you against these.
Borden Perlman is a third generation owned and operated property and casualty insurance agency catering to both private and commercial clients since 1915. The firm represents thirty "A" rated carriers and is licensed in 48 states. For more information visit www.bordenperlman.com
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