Are you renovating your home?

Home renovation and insurance

Are you doing a home renovation? Is it covered by insurance?

First off you need to determine whether or not you are doing an upgrade or repair. Then you look at will the insurance respond to a repair? How did the damage happen?

Some insurance claims examples include everything from a tree hitting the house, hail or wind ripping off shingles, sidings and eavestroughing, a skunk getting into the basement and letting loose noxious odours, paint spilled on carpeting to fire or smoke damage.

When you do have a claim then it is regarded as restoration and not a renovation. The insurance company claims adjuster may recommend the contractors and has determined just what work needs to be done to get back to where you were just before the loss occurred. You may choose at that point to better your property and do a bit more. This is above and beyond the claim and so is at your own cost.

All of this being said, if you find that you have damage to your flooring and it might be because of a discharge of water from the dishwasher then contact your insurer. Sometimes there is insurance funding where you might not have expected it. If you purchased a Comprehensive form then most damage is covered unless it is listed in the exclusions. At very least an appraiser will come out and look at your situation and give you some expert advice.

If your home renovation is a straight-up improvement to your property then you need to be sure to do a few things in regards to homeowner insurance. This applies if you are a condominium unit owner as well as your contents coverage limit includes improvements and betterment.

  • Contact your agent or broker and let them know what you are doing. They will want to know the extent of the renovation and how long you expect to take. Your policy will be noted that permission has been given to complete renovations. There is no charge for this notation and it keeps you up-to-date. You have an obligation to let the insurer know when your situation changes.
  • One of the concerns with doing renovations is that you can create an "attractive nuisance". A big pile of lumber may draw the attention of small children who want to climb it and possibly fall off and break an arm. You can try to keep them away but you cannot totally control the behaviour of children. If you have notified your insurer then if a claim like this did occur you would need to show that you did what any person reasonably would have done in the same circumstances.
  • You should have an idea of the cost for the renovations. This is the cost of a contractor doing the whole job. Some insurance companies now require that the value of the dwelling be amended for renovations done even if it is prior to renewal of the policy. Some companies will take away the guarantee of replacement value endorsement if you fail to do so within a certain time period - 30 or 60 days.
  • If you are using contractors for the work then you need to ask for proof of insurance. Be aware that an insurance certificate is valid the day you receive it. If that contractor turned around the canceled their insurance the next day you would have no way of knowing this. So ask around and try to find someone you know has a good track record.
  • The insurers look at these basics - roof, wiring, plumbing and heating as part of whether or not a home gets a preferred or standard price. If you are putting on a new roof, installing new plumbing or heating or updating the wiring in you home then you might improve the rating given to your home and save some money on insurance. It is particularly important to have your file noted about that roof replacement so when the hail claim does happen there is a clear record as to the age of the shingles/shakes.


If you have further questions about home renovations and insurance please contact us through Ask and we'll be glad to help. Take control of your insurance!

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