Building or Remodeling Your Home

Whether you are building a new home or remodeling your current home, there are some important insurance issues to consider. The homeowners insurance policy covering your existing home provides some coverage in these situations, but you may need some changes to your policy or additional policies.

If you are building a new home, you will need a separate policy (known as a “builders’ risk” policy) to cover damage caused by fire, windstorm or other calamities while the home is under construction. Your agent can help you purchase the right policy or review the policy provided by the builder to be sure you are adequately covered.

For a remodeling job, including additions to your home, your existing homeowners policy will cover damage to the home, including new construction. However, you are probably adding value to your home. We suggest increasing the amount of insurance on the home when construction starts to the estimated replacement cost of the home when complete. By doing so, you can be sure that the amount of insurance is adequate at all times during the construction and you won’t have to worry about forgetting to call your agent when the project is complete.

If you will be storing building materials away from your home location, be sure to tell your agent. Your homeowners policy contains some exclusions and limitations on stored building materials, so special coverage may be needed.

If someone (besides a family member) – including a construction worker – is injured on the job site or as a result of construction activities, the personal liability and medical payments coverages provided on your homeowners policy will apply. The policy will pay the injured person’s medical bills up to the medical payments limit (usually only $5,000) and the insurance company will defend you if a lawsuit is filed and pay any judgment or settlement up to the personal liability limit. Of course, since the risk of injury may be higher with construction activities, it’s a good time to review your limit of liability insurance. The additional cost for a higher limit – whether provided on your homeowners policy or with a separate personal umbrella policy – is surprisingly low in most cases.

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