If I Renovate My Home in New Jersey, Should I Call My Insurance Agent?

A guide to why it's important to call your independent insurance agent before a renovation begins, and which types of coverage can help protect your project.

Man removing a metal beam during home renovation. If I Renovate My Home In New Jersey, Should I Call My Insurance Agent?

Every homeowner feels the itch to do a big renovation on occasion. But before diving right into the project, you must have the right protection and plan in place. Without taking these important steps, you could end up damaging not only your home but your finances.

The right preparation starts with notifying your New Jersey independent insurance agent of your renovation plans and making sure you have the right coverage. Here's a guide to the proper steps to take, why it’s important to do so, and how a New Jersey independent insurance agent can help.

Why You Should Call Your New Jersey Independent Insurance Agent before Starting Home Renovations

Before beginning a huge home renovation project, take a few minutes to call up your New Jersey independent insurance agent. This is only necessary for significant renovations, not for minor projects. If you're going to be tearing down walls or making additions to your property, a call is absolutely necessary.

Step One of Smart Home Renovations: Talk to Your Agent

When taking on a major home project, your existing New Jersey homeowners insurance might not be adequate to cover you in case of an issue. As insurance expert Paul Martin pointed out, if you experience a problem during the renovation, you might not be technically residing in your home, which could create an insurance complication. 

You'll need coverage for the new elements you'll be adding to your home, such as the building materials and tools used. There's a unique form of coverage for these elements, since they're not technically a part of your home yet and can't be covered by home insurance. Ask your New Jersey independent insurance agent about adding builders risk insurance to protect your renovation project and the necessary materials and equipment from theft, vandalism, and more.

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Step Two of Smart Home Renovations: Verify Your Contractor’s Coverage

It's equally as important to ensure that any hired help has their own coverage before your project begins. You'll need to ask your contractor for proof of their contractor insurance, including both commercial general liability insurance and workers' comp coverage before you let them start working on your home. Without these coverages, you could face a lawsuit if a worker gets injured on the job on your property.

Don't accept help from a contractor who won't provide proof of insurance. This is a way many folks get scammed. But besides that risk, you want to make sure that anyone hired to work on your home is legitimate and taking care of not only their own liability but assuming the risk for their employees, as well.

Step Three of Smart Home Renovations: Keep Records and Receipts

Before your renovation project begins, take photos and a video of your home as it currently stands. Also, be sure to take more photos and video evidence as the project progresses, and once it's complete. That way you can verify that the project was done correctly and didn't cause damage to your home.

It's also important to make copies of all your receipts from the project, including bills from the contractors and expenses paid for any building materials or equipment. Keep documentation of any extra elements you had to purchase to add to your home as well, such as drywall, etc. If you do end up having to file an insurance claim, it'll be much easier if you have copies of everything organized and ready to submit.

Step Four of Smart Home Renovations: Update Your Coverage

Not only do you need to tell your home insurance company before you start a renovation project, but you'll need to update them once it's completed, too. Your existing policy was designed to cover your home as it previously was, and if you've added to your property, your old limits may no longer suffice. Your home insurance company might want copies of the documents you have, including photos of your additions, etc., and any receipts.

In addition to more property coverage, you might also need to increase your liability coverage. If you've added a swimming pool, trampoline, or another element that could be considered a risk, your home insurance company may suggest adding more liability protection. Find out more about how home insurance renovations will impact your insurance here.

Are There Important Coverages to Consider if You Do the Renovations Yourself?

Doing the renovations yourself adds a whole different element of risk. You'll want to talk with your New Jersey independent insurance agent about the following coverages before starting a project by yourself:

  • Dwelling under renovation coverage: This protects you against having your renovation materials stolen or damaged while they're on your property for the project. It also provides foundation collapse coverage if you experience this major disaster while renovating your home.
  • Vacant home coverage: This insurance protects you if you need to live somewhere else while your home renovation is taking place. It's recommended to get vacant home insurance to protect against vandalism and other disasters if you'll be living elsewhere for at least 60 days during the project.

As always, your New Jersey independent insurance agent can recommend all the coverages necessary to successfully protect yourself, your workers, and your property during a home renovation. Having the proper coverage in place before a project begins is the key to getting the results you want.

Why Choose a New Jersey Independent Insurance Agent?

New Jersey independent insurance agents simplify the process by shopping and comparing insurance quotes for you. Not only that, but they’ll also cut through the jargon and clarify the fine print so you know exactly what you’re getting.

New Jersey independent insurance agents also have access to multiple insurance companies, ultimately finding you the best home insurance coverage, accessibility, and competitive pricing while working for you.

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TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin

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