Working on the house? Talk to your insurance agent first

Darin Bjerknes
Published on October 5, 2020

Working on the house? Talk to your insurance agent first

The folks at Pew Research released the results of a recent poll that shows “Half of adults who say they lost a job due to the coronavirus outbreak are still unemployed.”

How they are faring financially depends a great deal on how prepared they were to lose their paychecks.

Apparently, some are doing ok, according to another survey that finds slightly more than half of unemployed Americans are performing some sort of home improvement project. Many are going the DIY route, but handy men and women and painting and flooring contractors are quite busy as well.

If you’ve performed home improvements, or are considering doing so, you may want to speak with your homeowners insurance agent to learn if and how these projects will affect your policy.

Certain renovations will increase the home’s value significantly and, thus, the cost to rebuild it as well. Let’s take a look as some of these projects.

Swimming pool installation

Judging by the enormous spike in U.S. sales and installations of inground pools, you aren’t alone in your desire to add one to your backyard.

Although they’re pretty to look at, fun to swim in and one of the best ways to cool off on a hot summer day, they’re also considered a liability risk to insurers. Yes, it probably will raise your premium.

You can mitigate some of the risk by constructing a fence, with a locked gate, around the entire pool.

Speak with your insurance agent before the excavator arrives to get the skinny on what else you can do to keep the cost of your homeowners insurance from skyrocketing.

Need a new roof?

Adding a new roof to the home isn’t one of the more exciting home renovations, but when it has seen better days, adding a new one is a necessity.

The impact on your insurance premium depends on several factors, including the material you choose. Definitely run this plan by your insurance agent because you could qualify for a discount on your premium, depending on the roofing material you choose.

On the other hand, a new roof may increase your property value and you will need additional coverage.

Basement renovation

A finished basement is many a homeowner’s dream. It also adds to the usable square footage of the home thereby increasing the home’s market value and the cost of your insurance premium.

There is also the issue of flooding and most policies don’t cover flood damage.

“There are several reasons why a basement may experience water damage,” according to Guy Kopperud at InsuranceJournal.com.

He goes on to suggest that some of these instances are covered by homeowners insurance and others will require you to buy a certain type of flood coverage.

“Your standard policy flood damage coverage is most often based on whether the event was sudden and accidental, like an overflowing tub or product failure such a malfunctioning washing machine,” Kopperud says.

“Storms and other rising waters are generally not covered under a standard homeowners’ policy and require additional flood insurance.”

He goes on to recommend using one or more sump pumps and keeping them maintained to avoid flooding.

Most important of all is to pick up the phone and call your insurance agent while your home improvement project is still in the planning stages. Ask about discounts and how to get them and how to mitigate anything that will raise your premium.

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