With the months changing and spring approaching, many homeowners are beginning their spring cleaning as soon as the weather permits. But, with the better weather, comes the interest in performing home renovations. While it’s easy to see how remodeling can vary between building additions or updating bathrooms, it’s important to know and understand what your responsibilities are as a homeowner.

Be Diligent

Being diligent during a home renovation goes further than being aware of your renovations. It starts at the very beginning when you’re looking for a contractor to perform the improvements. During this stage, it’s critical that you ask and check for your contractor’s trade license, liability insurance certificate and proof of their worker’s compensation insurance. It should be noted that contractors are not required to have this insurance before going into business. In fact, in Ontario, construction workers who are in business for themselves are not required to buy Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) coverage. So if a contractor begins work on your home and is injured during the job, the homeowner could be left legally liable. It’s suggested that if your contractor doesn’t require or have the provincials workers compensation coverage, that you check with your home insurance provider to see if they would be covered under your policy. Choosing to not check may mean that you could become liable for your contractor’s injuries and medical bills if he or she is injured on the job.

Notify Your Insurance Company

Before you start your home renovation project, you should notify your insurance company. Not only to determine whether your home insurance liability will protect you if your contractor is injured, but to ensure that you’re within the terms of your policy. Meaning, that if you suffer from a loss during or after the renovation, you will be covered.

Notifying your insurance company is particularly important as some home renovations may require the occupants of the home to vacate the property because of the mass demolition and upgrades that will be happening. If you need to leave your home during the renovation period, you need to confirm that your policy will still be in effect during this time. This is due to many policies stating that if homeowners are vacated from their house for more than 30 days, the policy can be canceled and any losses that occur may not be covered.

Another reason why you should notify your insurance provider about home renovations is that you may have to update your coverage needs. Usually, home renovations are performed to not only make your home more visually appealing but to increase its value. Regardless of if you’ve updated your kitchen, added a space for your home-based business or installed a pool, you may need to purchase additional coverage to protect yourself fully. With this being said, if you suffer from a loss after you renovate, the value needed to replace your upgrades and protect you may be more than what your original policy stated that you were eligible to receive. It’s also good to keep in mind that some renovations could lower your premium. Upgrading your electrical system or replacing the weathered roof, in some cases, do allow for additional discounts on policies.

Renovations are time-consuming and costly. Once you finish them, you should be able to rest easy knowing that if something happened, your home insurance policy would protect you. But for this to happen, you have to stay transparent with your insurance company so they can provide you with the best options. We know your home is important to you, let us help protect it. Contact your Cambridge Insurance broker today to guarantee that your policy works for you.