Updated December 3, 2018 . AmFam Team
Remodeling your home is a labor of love — it's rewarding to act on your vision and add your own personality to your family’s home. And what’s even more gratifying? Enjoying the fruits of your labor and relaxing in the new and improved version of your house.
But don’t hit the hardware store or hire a crew to get to work just yet. We’ve put together a list of tips that’ll help you make your DIY plans and home insurance work together. Check them out:
Will you be handling this remodeling project? Are you hiring contractors to take care of it? If you’re hiring contractors, you’ll need to make sure they’re properly insured in the event of the unexpected.
Look at reviews for potential contractors. Search the web for potential contractor names and look for reviews on their work. Websites like HomeAdvisor (Opens in a new tab) have directories of professional contractors complete with reviews and pricing estimates. Selecting a reputable contractor at the beginning of your home renovation can save you plenty of headaches in the end.
Check your contractor’s insurance. If you're hiring a contractor for a large project, ask them for a copy of a certificate of insurance that lists their general liability insurance, as well as their property and workers compensation insurance. Making sure they’re covered can help you relax throughout the whole house remodeling process — if something were to happen, you’re not on the hook.
Don’t be afraid to ask your contractor about potential permits you’ll need to get for your locality before you start your remodeling.
Renovating your home isn’t something you should do by the seat of your pants — planning and tracking every step of your remodeling process will help you better handle the project financially and re-evaluate your insurance afterwards, too. Track your project like this:
Set a budget beforehand. Laying out what you’re planning on spending and how much you can afford for every portion of your home remodel will help you avoid expensive missteps or tough decisions later on.
Create a paper trail. Hang on to your remodeling records — bids, estimates, invoices and receipts. You'll need this documentation to update your homeowner’s policy as well as your home inventory. While not required, providing before and after pictures will help your agent update your policy faster. Plus, you’ll love comparing your remodeled home to what it used to be!
Update your inventory. Keep track of your stuff using our home inventory spreadsheet (Opens in a new tab) or another system to keep track of additional items you've purchased to fill your newly remodeled space. It’ll help out if you ever need to make a personal property claim.
The insurance portion of your project shouldn’t wait until everything is finished — in fact, your insurance company should be with you almost every step of the way. Here’s how you can make sure your insurance is set up to protect everything you’re working towards with your project.
Talk to your agent before the project begins. Sharing your budget and details of your renovation can help them better craft the change in your policy that’ll come when everything’s done. Plus, they can help you protect yourself from the unexpected while the process is ongoing.
Save more. Talk to your agent about eligibility for discounts on your homeowners insurance rate due to your remodeling project. For example, you may qualify for a discount for installing smart home security and/or fire alarm systems. Or, you could get a discount if you install an impact-resistant roof. American Family rewards you for making your home safer — take those savings and make your home your favorite place to be.
Schedule a personal insurance review. When your renovation is complete, meet with your agent for a personal insurance review to update your insurance policy’s dwelling value and possessions coverage. They’ll make it a simple and straightforward process, especially if you’ve communicated with them before and during the renovations.
Consider extra coverage. Whether renovating, repairing or remodeling, you can protect your project by adding home renovation insurance coverage in case the unexpected occurs. Add up to sixty days of coverage for damage to a basement or foundation due to hydrostatic pressure, coverage for construction materials located off premises or while being transported to the premises, and theft or vandalism of personal property if you’re living away from your home during renovations.
Inspired to start a new remodeling project? Get the scoop on how we can help — or even save you money — with advice from your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab). Be sure to check with your agent to make sure that your homeowners coverage is doing all it can to protect your hard-earned dream.