Do you know if your insurance covers your home renovations?

More than a third of homeowners think their home insurance policy covers them when they renovate, but many will be in for a nasty surprise if a big change goes wrong.

The renovation boom of recent years may be running out of steam, but 68% of homeowners say they still want to renovate in the next two years, and 23% have started moving their plans forward, according to new research commissioned by Tower Insurance.

But the research also showed that 35% of homeowners believed their existing home insurance would cover them if the unexpected happened, and 36% didn’t know what they were covered for.

Tower product manager David Meaclem said most home insurance policies only cover minor alterations, such as building a deck, but do not cover structural alterations or those that require repair. building permit.

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Many people were unaware of this, and with building costs soaring due to record inflation, it was important that people had the right level of insurance protection if they were undertaking a renovation, did he declare.

“The renovation boom, with nearly a third (30%) of homeowners planning to spend more than $50,000 on an upcoming renovation, led us to launch a renovation-specific product. »

The new product would supplement an existing home insurance policy to extend a homeowner’s coverage to take into account any major renovation work in progress.

Tower product manager David Meaclem says most home insurance policies only cover minor renovations.

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Tower product manager David Meaclem says most home insurance policies only cover minor renovations.

It was separate from home or builders insurance and covered damage to renovations being completed, as well as theft or damage to materials during the construction period. It would include works such as the installation of a swimming pool.

Meaclem said the product meant that a large renovation project such as adding an extra room, which would require consents and cost around $100,000, would be covered. Under most existing policies, this would not be the case.

It was essential that people understood what the contract they had with their builder or renovation company covered, he said.

“Different builders use different insurance products, and the right liability insurance for the project may not be in place.

“But, from our perspective, it would be great if people planning a renovation were aware of what their existing policies cover, and we encourage them to contact us to find out.”

The insurer wanted to provide greater peace of mind at a time when a home could be more vulnerable, particularly if homeowners had to live offsite for a period of time, he said.

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