So, you’re looking to make some changes to your home, are you? How exciting…but before you go too far, stop, and make sure you’ve done your due diligence. When you’re thinking about doing home repairs and renovations, there are a couple of things you need to do to prepare first. 

Talk to Your Broker
From an insurance perspective, the most important thing to do before you start any big project is to contact your broker. This is because you have a contract with your insurance company that includes a promise to pay out based on what your home and contents were worth on the day you took out the policy. Making changes to your home will affect the value of your home and vary it from what was agreed upon in your policy. 

If you’re just doing something minor like painting, we don’t need to know. However, if you plan to make any changes with occupancy, construction, renovations, and major repairs, you need to talk to your broker because it may void your contract.  

One of the things you may not realize is most homeowner policies have guaranteed replacement cost on your home. Guaranteed replacement cost protects you from inflationary increases due to labor and materials to rebuild your home. Say you’re changing your roof from an asphalt roof to a metal roof and it increases the value of your home. If the change in product increases the value over a certain limit, you need to report the change to your broker/insurance company before the change is made to ensure the new product is covered under the Guaranteed Replacement coverage under the policy. Failure to report the change will lead to the new product not being covered and, in some cases, could void the insurance contract. The limit will vary based on the insurance company. Check with your broker on what the limit is under your policy. 

Insurance companies are cautious about renovations. Depending on the type of renovation, they may add a clause granting permission for renovations under your existing policy or ask you to find alternate coverage during the renovation period. Typically, alternate coverage is required if there are structural changes or any major changes. It is important to note: do not begin any renovations until coverage is confirmed. Failure to advise your insurance company about a renovation could void your contract and coverage. 

If you perform renovations without advising your broker and have a claim and the contract is voided, not only does this leave you uninsured but it also puts a black mark on your insurance record, making it more difficult for you to get insurance in the future. 

Hire a Professional
If you’re planning to hire the project out, you want to make sure you hire a professional—and not just for the quality of work. You need someone with insurance. If you hire someone without commercial general liability insurance and without WorkSafeBC coverage, you could be held liable for any injuries to a third party and damages to your home as a result of the work done. To prevent this, make sure you ask for evidence that these policies are in place prior to starting the project. It is important to note, faulty workmanship is not covered under homeowner policies. Faulty workmanship would be covered by the contractor’s commercial general liability policy. 

In addition to making sure your contractor has a commercial general liability policy and WorkSafeBC coverage, it is a good idea that they use their own equipment. If you provide equipment and it is faulty, you could be held liable for any bodily injures or property damages. 

You should also consider hiring a professional for their level of workmanship. While DIY home repairs can be tempting, if you ask a friend or family member to help, something goes wrong, and you put in a claim under your homeowner policy, your insurance company might subrogate for damages against your friend or family member. This can lead to hard feelings. 

Even a professional can be guilty of faulty workmanship. That is why it is so important to hire someone with the correct insurance. If a professional’s job is deemed faulty workmanship and they have insurance, you can go back to them and receive compensation for your losses. 

We Want to Hear from You!
If you are a Waypoint client planning an upcoming project, we want to hear from you! Give us a call at 1-866-674-2816 ext. 847 to book an appointment to review your insurance policy and tell us all about the exciting changes you plan on making to your home. Not only will we help you insure the correct value but we’ll also help make sure you have the right insurance for any contractors you decide to use. Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered.