Are things changing around your house? From renovations to roof upgrades to starting your own home business, your insurance company needs to know when certain things happen. But that doesn’t mean you have to tell them every minor detail – painting your bedroom won’t affect your insurance, after all! That’s why we’ve put together a list of 10 important changes you do need to share with your home insurer.
1. Getting a new roof
Curling or cracked shingles, valleys and damp attic insulation likely mean it’s time for a new or updated roof. It may not be the most glamorous home improvement, but it’s arguably one of the most important. Let your insurer know that you’ve upgraded your roof and in turn reduce the risk of weather and structural damage. It may even lower your insurance rates.
2. Performing a major renovation
Whether you’re changing the existing floor plan or adding entirely new square footage, you’re sure to reveal a dramatic before and after. But, some home insurance companies might not cover construction that alters the structural integrity of your home – like an addition or an extension. Before diving into any major reno, contact your insurer to discuss what is and isn’t covered under your policy. You may need to purchase an extension on your coverage or look for insurance elsewhere.
3. Updating the exterior of your home
Updating the exterior finish of your home is more than just a good way to give it a fresh look. It also protects its integrity and longevity. Whether you have brick, stucco or any variety of siding, changes to the exterior of your home should be shared with your insurer to make sure you’re properly covered. Looking to complete the makeover? Discover more ways to up your curb appeal
4. Installing a new heating system
You may not be able to control the weather, but you can control your furnace. Updating your heating system or making the switch to a different technology is about more than just comfort and safety, it also affects your insurance rates and coverage
– often for the better.
5. Finishing an unfinished basement
So you’ve transformed your unfinished basement into your very own mantuary, complete with a fully stocked bar, home theatre and shelves upon shelves of sports collectibles. Go ahead, brag to your insurer about your newly upgraded basement and make sure you’re fully covered. While you’re at it, get informed on how to look after your most expensive stuff
6. Purchasing a rental property or renting out part of your own home
If you’re renting a part of the house you live in to two or more people or have a separate rental property you own but don’t live in, you’re officially a landlord. Along with that extra income comes extra responsibility. Consider the implications of lost rental income, landlord’s belongings or increased liability. To ensure your investment is fully protected, let your insurer know that you need landlord insurance.
7. Spending time at your seasonal property
If you have a seasonal property that’s only used for a few months out of the year, be sure to let your insurer know. Keep in mind that during the time it’s vacant, your coverage will be limited. You’re also expected to take some precautions to reduce risk – like locking the doors and windows and generally maintaining the property. And, if you’re renting it out short-term when you’re not there, they’ll also need to be notified. Learn more about insuring a seasonal property.
8. Taking a longer vacation
If you’re going to be away from home for more than 14 days, there are a few more things your insurer has to add to your checklist. First, let your insurer know that you’ll be leaving. Then, just like a vacant property, be sure to have someone checking up on your place while you’re gone and take the proper steps to protect your home before you leave.
9. Starting a home-based business
Working from your home has its benefits. Whether you’re a traditional tax accountant or run an online used cardboard box marketplace (really – it’s a thing), you’ll need to make sure your business is protected. Your business may share your home, but it doesn’t share its insurance.
10. Finally paying off your mortgage
First of all, congrats! Now that you’ve paid off your loan, let your insurer know that you no longer have a lender on your home. This way, if you have a claim in the future, you won’t have to settle through your old lender. Also, paying off your mortgage may save you money by lowering your rates!
Remember, if you’re ever unsure whether or not you should tell your insurer about a change you’ve made, give them a call to make sure. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry!