If you're planning a home renovation, you may want to call your insurance agent first because this decision can impact your homeowners insurance. Some home renovations will change the amount of coverage you need, while others could even help you qualify for a discountt. We cover six common scenarios that could affect your insurance, so you can plan ahead.
1. Building a New Addition
When you expand and improve your home, you could likely increase its replacement value. This is the cost to repair or rebuild your home. Some additions that could increase your replacement value include: adding a second-story bedroom, expanding the living room or building a new garage.
After building a new addition, or making updates or 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 or improvement.
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 the chance for an accident. If someone gets hurt, they could try to hold you responsible for damages. This can apply even if the accident isn't your fault.
Check with your agent to see whether your existing policy covers a pool and if you need to increase your liabilty coverage. This coverage can help pay damages to injured persons and provide for a defense if you are sued as a result of their injuries.
You should also ask your agent 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. You could also add lights with motion sensors or a pool alarm to discourage trespassers. Consider skipping the diving board, 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 he or she 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 counter tops, appliances and new flooring. You should contact your agent to see if you need to increase your insurance coverage.
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 your insurance company has discounts that can help to 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 roofing materials that are wind, hail and leak-resistant. Your agent can explain how to qualify. At the same time, redoing the roof could increase your property value, which means you might need more coverage.
It is a good idea to contact your agent when you’re considering making home renovations. Their knowledge and expertise can help you get the most out of your discounts while making sure your home is adequately insured.
Due to Covid 19, most of us have had extra time on our hands to take on projects that otherwise we may rarely think about, such as home efficiency.
Extreme temperatures, from wintry winds to summer heat waves, can make us more mindful of the importance of an energy-efficient home. But no matter the season or which climate you live in, taking a few key steps can make a significant difference on your energy bills and improve the comfort of your home.
That’s because making your home more energy efficient can do more than help control temperatures. Mold, excessive dust, ice dams, moisture on windows, sinus problems and inordinate noise can also be potentially addressed by making home improvements.
Rather than one-off solutions, such as adding insulation or replacing dated appliances with more energy efficient ones, ENERGY STAR® recommends a more holistic approach. Their Home Performance survey, conducted by a qualified contractor, can help homeowners identify specific problems. For example, ice-cold kitchen floors, a second-floor bedroom that’s too hot in the summer or high energy bills, might be signs of larger issues.
According to ENERGY STAR, here are some improvements that homeowners typically make after an audit of their home:
Air sealing and adding insulation. Sealing up all of the small holes throughout your home can improve energy efficiency and also keep out dust and pests. Attics and basements can be primary culprits, but doors and windows can also account for air leaks.
Lack of insulation in the attic or air leaks around pipes and chimneys can lead to escaping heat in the winter.
In the basement, leaks are common where the basement walls meet the floors above.
Leaks around doors, windows and pipes may be sealed with caulk or expanding foam.
Crawlspaces can draw in cold air in the winter and humid air in the summer.
Heating and cooling. Systems that are more than 10 years old can be replaced with models that have earned the government’s ENERGY STAR rating.
ENERGY STAR-rated heating and cooling systems, when properly installed and used correctly, can help homeowners save up to 10 percent on home utility bills.
When used correctly, an ENERGY STAR-rated programmable thermostat can provide additional savings and increase comfort by having your home programmed based on your schedule.
Ducts. Forced hot air and central cooling systems use ducts to move air throughout the home.
If some rooms in the house are never comfortable, it could be due to gaps, leaks or tears in ductwork.
Sealing leaks and making sure ducts are straight and properly connected will help increase the home’s energy efficiency, while making those difficult-to-heat-or-cool rooms more comfortable.
Lighting and appliances. Replacing appliances with ENERGY STAR-rated versions can save money on utility bills.
Refrigerators, clothes washers and dryers, dishwashers, and lighting fixtures are among the more than 50 kinds of products that carry the ENERGY STAR label.
These products also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
After a home contractor inspects your home, you should receive a detailed work proposal following the evaluation. The contractor may have other recommendations, such as installing solar panels or a solar hot water system. Homeowners can expect to save 20 percent or more on the annual utility bill, depending on the type of improvements. For more details and to find a participating contractor, visit www.energystar.gov.
School is out for the week, the weather is warming up, and it's time for a vacation. What does the perfect vacation mean to your family; where do you see yourselves making the most epic memories?
Good Housekeeping composed their list of the "Perfect Spring Break Destinations."
1. Los Cabos, Mexico
2. Oahu, Hawaii
3. Paradise Island, Bahamas
4. Lisbon, Portugal
5. Palm Springs, California
6. Washington, D.C.
7. Orlando, FL
8. London, England
9. Scottsdale, AZ
10. Park City, UT
11. Yosemite National Park
12. Hilton Head, South Carolina
13. Costa Rica
14. Las Vegas, Nevada
15. Banff, Canada
This list was formed by Good Housekeeping before the Coronavirus outbreak, as I am sure this would have changed things a bit. As for our family, we are keeping it much more low key this year - we will be road tripping to Mississippi to visit family and friends. Not all vacations have to be over the top, some of the best ones are spontaneous and within driving distance. Whatever you and your family choose to do this Spring Break, take some time to relax, unwind, and make some fun, family memories!
From our offices in Weatherford, Texas, we serve clients anywhere in the State of Texas, though the following areas are geographically closest to us: the counties of Dallas, Tarrant, Denton, Wise, Johnson, Parker and Hood and the cities of Arlington, Bedford, Brock, Burleson, Cleburne, Colleyville, Coppell, Dallas, Decatur, Euless, Fort Worth, Frisco, Granbury, Grapevine, Hurst, Keller, Mansfield, Millsap, Mineral Wells, North Richland Hills, Southlake, Watauga, Weatherford, and White Settlement.