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Karl Newman, President
Sandi Henke, Communications Director     
NW Insurance Council    
Phone: (206) 624-3330/(800) 664-4942
Fax: (206) 624-1975
Follow at Twitter/nwinsuranceinfo


Home and business remodeling: Are you adequately insured?

SEATTLE - Summer is approaching and so are many home and business remodeling projects. Before sitting back and enjoying the completed improvements, make sure you have the right amount and type of insurance to cover your renovated home or business.

A good place to start is to talk with your insurance agent or company to make sure you are adequately insured and fully protected against a covered loss. Depending on the addition or improvement, you may need to increase your level of coverage.

"Some homeowners and business owners may be tempted to save money by not informing their insurance companies about changes they've made," said Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president. "That approach can have severe financial consequences if you have a large fire or other major loss. You could find yourself on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars - all to save a few dollars in the short run."

NW Insurance Council and Insurance Information Institute offer the following tips to help you adequately insure your remodeled home so you can avoid some of the common pitfalls of home and business improvement projects:

  • If you've recently remodeled your home or built an addition, contact your agent or company immediately to determine if you need to increase or change your coverage.
  • If you're planning a remodeling project, contact your agent or company before construction begins. If your new addition is damaged or destroyed before the new coverage starts, you may be responsible for the repairs and rebuilding costs.
  • If you're planning a do-it-yourself project, make sure you have sufficient liability protection in case someone gets injured during the project. Also, only take on remodeling projects you are qualified to handle.
  • For large remodeling projects, consider getting a builder's risk policy, also known as a "course of construction" policy. This coverage is available as a stand-alone policy or as an add-on to your Homeowners policy and generally protects your home from damage during construction, such as wind, rain damage or theft.
  • If you're hiring a contractor, make sure the contractor is properly insured, bonded and registered through the Department of Labor & Industries. Ask the contractor to show you copies of the bond. You also can check if the contractor has any complaints filed against it by looking online.
  • Also make sure the company has Workers Compensation coverage. Ask for a copy of the policy. Workers Compensation covers medical expenses and lost wages if workers suffer injuries on the job. A contractor's employees could sue you if the contractor doesn't have the proper insurance.
  • Check references to verify the quality of a contractor's work. To find a reputable contractor, check with your local homebuilders association.
  • Take photographs before, during and after the renovation so you have a visual record of work done on your home or business. Also, keep copies of any contractor contracts and keep receipts for work done and materials purchased.
  • Consider getting more liability protection if you added a swimming pool or hot tub. You may want to ask your agent or insurance company about getting an excess or umbrella liability policy as a cost-effective way to increase your overall liability protection.
  • If you buy additional items such as furniture, exercise equipment and electronics, you may need to increase your coverage for personal possessions. Talk with your insurance agent or company. Keep the receipts, take pictures of the new items and keep them with your home inventory.
  • NW Insurance Council offers free downloadable Home Inventory Software created by the Insurance Information Institute.

For more information about insuring your newly remodeled home or business, contact NW Insurance Council or call (800) 664-4942.

The NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education organization funded by member insurance companies serving Washington, Oregon and Idaho.