Before you set out to make your backyard paradise or basement escape, consider how your home renovations may affect your insurance coverage and premiums.
If you think spring seems like the perfect time for a home renovation — you’re right! But, before you jump in and get started, you may want to call your insurance agent, as major changes can influence your home insurance after renovations. Some projects may change the amount of coverage you need, while others may even make you eligible for a discount.
With the help of Travelers Insurance, here are six common home renovations that could affect your insurance. Be sure to plan ahead if you’re considering any of these updates this spring!
1. Building a New Addition
When you expand and improve your home, you likely increase its replacement value (aka the cost to repair or rebuild your home). Some additions that could increase your replacement value include adding a second-story bedroom, expanding a living room, or building a new garage.
After building a new addition, or making other improvements, you may need to increase your coverage because the value of your home (and the cost to rebuild it) will likely have increased. Most insurance companies require your Coverage A or dwelling coverage limit be at least 80 percent of the replacement value of your home. Your insurance agent can recalculate your home value to determine whether you’ll need more coverage because of the addition.
2. Building a Pool
If you’re looking to add a pool, you will want to contact your insurance agent to review coverage for changes to your property’s value, as well as any increase in risk. When people are swimming and running around the pool, there’s a chance of an accident. If someone gets hurt, they could try to hold you responsible for damages, even if the accident isn’t your fault.
Check to see whether your existing policy covers a pool and/or if you need to increase your liability coverage. This coverage can help pay damages to injured persons and provide for a defense if you are ever sued as a result of injuries.
You should also ask what steps you can take to keep your pool safe so you can avoid accidents. Adding a fence with a lock is a smart move, as are motion sensor lights or a pool alarm. Consider skipping the diving board, too, because this increases the chance of an accident and your insurance cost.
3. Adding a Deck
A new deck is another improvement that can add value but also risk, especially if the deck is attached to a second story or higher. You should let your agent know that you’ve added a deck, so they can adjust your policy as necessary.
4. Renovating the Kitchen
Upgrading the kitchen can significantly increase the value of your home, especially if you switch to higher-quality countertops, appliances, and new flooring.
If your contractor upgrades the plumbing or electrical wiring as part of the renovation, ask your homeowners insurance agent if you qualify for a discount or if your coverage needs to be adjusted. These upgrades can reduce the chance of flooding water damage and fire, so check if you qualify for discounts that reduce your premium.
5. Finishing the Basement
Finishing your basement can also increase the value of your home. That means, yet again, you may need more homeowners coverage. Flooding can be a concern, especially for the lowest floor in your house. It is important to note that most homeowners insurance policies do not cover damage caused by floods. Ask your agent to review your coverage and look to see if there are steps you can take to help prevent future damage, like installing a sump pump.
6. Redoing the Roof
Before you redo your roof, ask your insurance agent whether this could qualify for a discount. Some companies offer a discount when you reinforce the roof or use stronger materials that are wind, hail, and leak-resistant. At the same time, redoing the roof could increase your property value, which means you might need more coverage.
If you’re considering making home renovations, it is always a good idea to contact your local independent agent for a home insurance quote. If you’re in the greater Rochester, NY area, reach out to The Feltner Group to set up a consultation to discuss your home insurance after renovations to learn how you can make the most out of discounts while ensuring adequate coverage. As independent brokers, we work for our clients, not the insurance carriers, and we’re dedicated to helping you get the coverage you need at the best rates possible.