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Renovations and Home Insurance: Is Your Policy Enough?

March 29, 2019
3 mins
family painting their living room seafoam green

There's a lot to think about when you decide to renovate. But aside from choosing the right material for your new countertop and the ideal shade of paint, you have to think about insurance. Many people may not know that renovations have implications for their coverage. That's true while construction is underway and after work is done.

As it turns out, your insurance is affected by all renovations, including those you do by yourself. It's an added errand to talk to your insurer before you pull out the nailgun (or hire the contractor). But it makes life easier in the event you have to put in a claim. It also gives you peace of mind during a stressful time.

Before Your Start Renovations

Start by reading the fine print of your home insurance policy. Your coverage may actually be void during construction. That's because the work results in a greater risk of damage. You have workers on site. Your building may have exposed areas. That exposure means there's a greater likelihood of theft or damage from weather, floods or other hazards.

By discussing the issue with your insurance company, you can make sure your coverage continues. They can assess the hazards and increase your limits so you are covered in case something goes wrong. Importantly, your policy may not cover you if you live away from home during construction. You can resolve this issue with a vacancy permit from your insurer.

Checking Out Your Contractor

If you are hiring a contractor, make sure they have their own coverage. Professional contractors should be willing to show their certificate of insurance. It should include full liability for their work and workers' compensation for their staff, for the entire time period of the job.

If you live in Ontario, check out the Consumer Beware List to make sure there are no past complaints against the company. Always ask for references and get a written contract for the job. This not only makes good legal sense if there is a problem but also helps you to show your insurance company what kind of work was done.

After Your Renovations Are Complete

The Insurance Bureau of Canada recommends sitting down with your insurer after the renovations are complete. Changes to your home result in changes to the replacement value if there is damage. So you are required to tell your insurer that you have made upgrades, otherwise you may not be able to make a claim later on.

Discussing your renovations allows you to reevaluate all aspects of your coverage. You may be offered an updated policy that better reflects your home's current status. Talking to your insurer also keeps you on a strong legal footing. You are eliminating the possibility that a future claim is denied because of a failure to disclose renovations.

Find Out About Home Insurance

Getting the right coverage can help put your mind at ease before investing in renovations. Do your homework on what's included in your current policy. To learn more about your home insurance options, check out quotes on Rates.ca.

RATESDOTCA Team

The RATESDOTCA editorial team are experienced writers focused on sharing stories and bringing you the latest news in insurance and personal finance. Our goal is to provide Canadians with the information and resources they need to make better insurance and financial decisions.

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