If you have lived in your home for a number of years, you probably have started thinking about doing some kind of remodeling to give you a fresh perspective on what your home looks like. Before the housing market went south, you might have said hey, lets put our home up for sale and build something new or find another home that appeals to us. Unfortunately those days are a thing of the past for most people as now the values for our homes are 50% off what they were 5 years ago. I think most people have agreed that it makes more sense to stay in their home but to give it some kind of face lift to make it more appealing.
I have found out personally that just changing the paint colors can make a huge difference on the appeal of your home and is extremely cost effective to do. We recently did this for my home. We had every room in the downstairs repainted so everything looked very crisp and fresh with no scuff marks anywhere on the walls anymore. Doing this, and changing some of the accessories and wow!, your home looks totally different. We did the same thing for the outside a few years back with changing the color and trim of our home as well as the color of the shutters and front door. looks like a totally different home in a good way.
When you do these kinds of home improvements you usually are not doing them yourself but rather using a skilled craftsman or a contractor to finish the job. What happens if the person that was highly referred to you does a lousy job or gets hurt on the job while doing the work? Can you be held responsible for any injuries sustained for a worker that is on your property. you better believe you can.
Remodeling can be both a passion and a chore. But usually, the end result is worth it. If you do it right, that is.
Your insurance policy is usually not part of the to-do list when it comes to planning a home remodel, and rarely finds its way into the file folder with paint swatches, contractor bids, or hardware store shopping lists. But it pays to start your home improvement project on a solid foundation. Call your team at Southern Insurance Group and let us “hammer out” a protection plan that can bear some weight - from the ‘Before’ to the ‘After’.
Hiring a contractor? Check his insurance
When you have work done, you should always make sure that the person doing the work has general liability insurance to protect you against his negligence. You should hire only a licensed and bonded contractor and don't just take his word for it but have him provide you with a certificate of insurance from his insurance company that states that his policy is in force.
If he just shows you insurance paperwork you won't actually know that his general liability policy is active unless you secure a certificate from his insurance company. Southern Insurance Group provides a lot of coverage for contractors and we are sending out certificates all the time for this type verification. note that if the contractor hires a sub-contractor then the contractor usually requires the sub to maintain this same type coverage otherwise they become responsible for the subcontractors negligence if something goes wrong.
Most people are not aware of this right to see their contractor’s policy, and therefore don’t ask for it.) You should also confirm your contractor’s licensing status with the Florida Labor & Industries Department.
There are three major parts of a Clermont contractor’s insurance policy:
- Worker’s Comp: Applies when an employee or sub-contractor gets injured on the job site. Worker’s Comp covers medical/rehabilitation expenses and lost wages for the worker. If the contractor’s limits are not adequate, an injured worker may sue you.On a side note: If you assume the role of being your own General Contractor, you may have to purchase Worker’s Comp Insurance before you hire sub-contractors. Contact the Florida State Department of Labor and Industries for more information.
- General Liability: Covers negligence on the contractor’s part which causes injury or property damage to others.
- Builder’s Risk: Covers damage to your home and materials, including materials that haven’t been installed yet.
Are you your own General Contractor? The risk may be greater than the savings!
If you have the skills, I'm sure you would rather try to take on the home improvement job instead of hiring a contractor who overseas his subs doing the work. you say to yourself, heck, not only could Ii oversea the work being done but I could probably do most of it myself. The problem is you haven't done that type work in a while and it is tough work to begin with so you decide to hire someone to have it done. When you oversea the job and hire your own subs to complete the stuff you do not desire to do yourself then you open yourself up for a potential lawsuit if something goes wrong.
The key in this situation is to make sure the sub has insurance before they start doing the work on your home. You will follow the same route by having them contact their insurance carrier to provide you a certificate of insurance. Once this is provided then you can have them perform the work. this will protect you from an accident or injury to a worker or 3rd party. For instance, lets say a neighborhood kids comes by to see your child and is standing underneath the sub-contractor who is remodeling the outside. his hammer slips off the ladder and falls and hits the neighborhood child in the head. if the sub has no insurance then guess who can be helfd responsible for the child's injuries? That's right you can. Accidents happen and lawsuits get really ugly when they do.
Your homeowner’s policy may provide some liability coverage, but even if so, it may not be enough to cover your assets if you are sued for liability and medical costs.
Worker’s comp is not always required by law but if you are in the situation of hiring sub-contractors to work in or on your home and property, you may want to purchase Worker’s Comp insurance for your own protection.
Since this is a very complicated topic with many variables, you should speak with your agent before hiring anybody.
All in all, you might be better off both financially and risk-wise if you hire a licensed and bonded contractor who has the insurance and the experience. It may save you a lot of hassle and worries during an already stressful time.
Do it Yourself Projects. Some are covered, some are not. (But not because you did it yourself!)
Let's say you have the talent to remodel your upstairs bathroom so you plan the project, buy the materials and set aside 3 days to get the project done. you are tearing up tile, replacing the toilets a fixtures and everything goes according to plan. you finish the job, your proud of the job you have done and most importantly your wife gives you a big huge and kiss because you are the man!!
A couple weeks go by and you start to notice that there is a bulging taking place on the ceiling underneath the upstairs bathroom. you think what the heck could that be. you decide to make a small incision in the bulge to determine what is taking place when all of a sudden water starts streaming out of the hole you just made. Turns out that when you replace the toilet on the wax seal it wasn't completely flush so every time someone used the bathroom water and other items seeped out of the seal and leaked through the floor to the downstairs ceiling.
Based on this situation would this be a covered claim to fixed the damage created from the leaking water ? The answer is yes, if it happened suddenly and accidentally which it did. The damage created from this water leak was covered but fixing the actual leak or the toilet seal was not covered. If it occurred over a long period of time and the homeowner did nothing about it then it would be questionable if the claim would be paid out for this damage.
Keep in mind that generally, your finished D-I-Y home improvement project would be covered for all the common perils insured on a homeowner’s policy, whether you do the work or a contractor does the work. But the perils covered on a homeowner’s policy have to be sudden and accidental occurrences.
And that’s the problem in this example. The answer here is: There might not be coverage. What happened here is a mistake, a construction defect. There are workmanship exclusions on a homeowner’s policy that apply whether the work was done by a contractor or the property owner. If the damage in this example was caused by faulty workmanship, not by a sudden and accidental occurrence, the loss would not be covered by your homeowner’s policy.
However, had you hired a contractor, you could sue him for repairs and or hold him responsible to fix the damage.
A side note: Water damage that happens over time (like a slow leak that causes dry rot) is generally excluded from coverage on your homeowner’s policy. So, it is critical to address any suspicious leaks immediately. They don’t go away on their own. They only become bigger (and possibly excluded) losses.
Major Remodel? Insure the “After” before it’s too late
That second story you were talking about? Yup. It’s done. Two more bedrooms, a bathroom, and a family room, just like you had planned. About an extra 1,000 square feet. Yeah, it’s such a relief. You can’t even imagine going back to living on one floor with the two boys, the cat, and the dog. None of you remember how you did it. But luckily, you don’t have to!
If you don’t want to remember the “Before”, be sure to not leave your homeowner’s policy stuck in the past! If you plan a major remodel like an addition, a new deck, or a significant upgrade, be sure to call your trusty insurance agents at Southern Insurance Group to inform us about the scale of the remodel you are planning.
The replacement value of your home may now be significantly greater than it was before, and your homeowner’s policy limits might not be enough to cover your house if you have a total loss. Also, if you have an extended replacement coverage endorsement (very important!) your policy contract requires that you inform your insurance company of any significant change in value (usually defined as improvements over $5,000.) Finally, if you purchased new furniture or electronics, be sure to adjust the personal property limits on your homeowner’s policy.
However, don’t wait until all the work is done. During the construction phase, you may have a significant amount (and dollar value) of supplies stored on your property. If these building materials are stolen or destroyed before your remodel is finished, there may be inadequate coverage.
So, don’t let your excitement be dampened by unforeseen incidences. Give us a call before the ‘After’, and get the peace of mind you deserve.
How certain remodels can save you money on your homeowner’s insurance
Whew! That was a major project… updating all the electrical in your turn-of-the-century craftsman. No fun…but it sure feels good that it’s done now. For all you know, the place could have gone up in flames years ago, due to the outdated wiring. So this gives you some peace of mind.
If you did a major remodel that included updating certain systems such as...
- Putting on a new roof
- A security system
- Or other features that improve the safety of your home...
...give us a call 352-243-9000 and share the news!
You may qualify for a new discount on your homeowner’s policy!