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Taking the Headache Out of Home Renovations: Tips to Minimize Risks

June 26, 2016

structural renovjpgHome renovations are an exciting opportunity to make your home your own. Whether you’re adding a media room or finally making over that master suite and walk-in closet, it allows you to personalize your space. However, home renovations can also bring up challenges and unforeseen risks that homeowners need to prepare for, especially when undertaking a major renovation or working on a custom home.

While homeowners dot their i’s and cross their t’s when it comes to ensuring they have financing for their project, they often fail to think about the risks associated with a major home renovation. This oversight can lead to them unknowingly exposing themselves to things like lawsuits, uninsured losses and even safety threats.

So how can you make sure you’re covered for any home renovation risks that may arise before a shovel hits the dirt? Make sure you’re prepared with these four tips:

1)     Do Your (Contractor) Homework: Take your time choosing the right contractor and ask a large and diverse audience for their recommendations – from your financial planner to your real estate agent to friends and family. Also look for a contractor that has done work similar to your desired renovation. Once you’ve narrowed it down, request referrals for other clients the contractor worked with that you can speak to and potentially even see their work in person, look at online reviews and check with the Better Business Bureau to ensure they are reputable. Also request their license number and verify their licensing status with state licensing agencies. You can also conduct professional background checks of any contractors and subcontractors.Announcements

2)      Get It in Writing: Make sure you get a proposed contract from the contractor that covers all aspects of the renovation, from the scope of the work, projected costs, and materials that will be utilized to the job site safety responsibility (which should always be on the contractor) to the timing, terms of payment, and procedures to address sign-off. Ensure everything has been though through – from how unexpected costs will be addressed to whether the removal of old materials and debris is being handled by the contractor – and include it in the contract.

3)     Ensure You’re Covered: Not only do you need to make sure you’re covered before beginning a renovation, from liability coverage in case a worker is injured on your property to property damage or theft, but you need to also ensure your contractor and any subcontractors are bonded and have adequate insurance coverage. Ask for your contractor’s insurance certificate and contact their carrier to verify they have general liability and workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Keep in mind that custom homes can pose unique challenges because their value often exceeds the amount of coverage contractors carry. Contact your insurance agent to discuss your renovation and go through your coverage.

4)     Protect Yourself: Ask your contractor for a full list of the workers that will be in and out of your home. Also make sure that you take an inventory of your personal possessions prior to beginning any work and ensure any sensitive information, like family members’ social security numbers or financial information, is locked away and protected.Also limit access to any computers or electronic devices and make sure everything is password protected, including your Wi-Fi network.

With the right preparation, a home renovation can transform your house into your dream home! Make sure you’re prepared to take the stress and risk out of home renovations.

Cherie Pare


Cherie Pare

Personal Lines Account Manager


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