Planning a Reno? How to Make Sure You’re Properly Covered

Canadians love to renovate. In fact, Canadians expected to spend an average of $15,300 on home renovations last year, according to a CIBC poll. More than one third of Canadians polled had plans to renovate within the next 12 months. Albertans expected to spend the most, averaging $22,000, while Atlantic Canadians averaged the least at exactly half of that. That’s a lot of money nationally going into renovations—how do you make sure you’re protected?

There are countless reasons to renovate, from improving the aesthetic of your home to increasing its property value. But if you or your contractor doesn’t have proper insurance you could be liable for damages to or injuries obtained on your property. Here’s what you need to do to ensure you’re properly covered.

Ask your contractor for proof of insurance

Before you hire your contractor, you’re going to want to make sure they have adequate insurance. Ask if your contractor has general liability insurance, then request proof or call their insurance provider to confirm. Some insurance companies may require that your property be listed on their certificate. You’re best to double check. If your contractor uses subcontractors, get a list of their names and check their insurance as well. You want to make sure you have all your bases covered.

Your liability insurance may protect your property should the contractor or his/her employees damage anything. This might recover the costs of replacing or repairing any damage. Check also to see if your contractor has workers’/workman’s compensation insurance under their employer. This should also protect them—and you—if they are injured on your property. Review their policy closely to see if this is part of their coverage. Talking this over with your insurance broker or agent might be helpful as they can offer you some advice.

Make sure you have insurance

As a home owner, you likely already have property insurance. Most property insurance policies protect you against personal liability if someone is injured on your property. It will also protect your house itself, as well as your personal belongings, though the extent of your coverage will vary depending on your policy and riders. Before hiring anyone to do work on your home, review your home’s liability insurance to make sure you can’t be held liable for any injuries obtained on your property.

Do not lend a contractor/subcontractor any equipment or tools

To prevent any loopholes, do not provide your contractor with any equipment or tools. If a ladder you provided turned out to be faulty, for example, then you could be held liable for negligence and could potentially be sued. If a contractor does not provide his or her own equipment it as advisable not to proceed in hiring them. (For other red flags, click here).

To prevent additional opportunities for negligence, mitigate any potential dangers by removing broken branches and putting salt on icy patches, for example.

What to do if you’re not home

Your property insurance should protect you even if you have to leave the home for the duration of the renovation. Check with your insurance professional as most insurance companies have underwriting rules about insuring a vacant home.

Whenever you are planning a renovation always check with your insurance professional prior to the start of construction. When it comes to insurance, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.