TD Insurance survey shows Ontario homeowners don't have all the facts on home renovations
TORONTO, April 29, 2013 /CNW/ - You have hired a contractor, approved the plans and ordered new appliances - but are you really 'reno ready'? Research from TD Insurance has found the majority of Ontario homeowners are not considering the insurance implications of their renovations: only 6% checked their policy to ensure they were covered during their latest renovation and just 14% asked their insurer if their policy needed an update following their upgrades.
"Whether you're installing water-efficient plumbing or simply new cabinetry, before you pick up a hammer or drill, it's important to understand and learn more about the insurance implications of upgrading your home," says Dave Minor, a vice president at TD Insurance. "For example, while being handy around the home is convenient for upgrades such as painting or installing crown molding, more challenging projects like tackling the electrical work yourself could actually invalidate your insurance policy. Speaking with your insurance provider can be a quick way to help clarify the unknown."
Dave Minor busts three common home insurance myths and offers advice for handy homeowners to consider before upgrading their abode:
Myth #1: "My home will be covered under my original insurance policy during renovations"
Forty-eight percent of Ontario homeowners incorrectly believe they will always be covered by their original home insurance policy while their home is being renovated, and 27% are unaware that moving out for more than 30 days during renovations requires a policy update.
"Upgrades requiring extensive work, such as adding an extension to your home, may require you to change your entire policy to a building under construction," says Minor. "And, if you're not living in your home during renovations, it becomes an easier target for thieves and undetected water damage, which is why your insurer may require you to secure a vacancy permit if you move out for more than a month."
Myth #2: "If my contractor is injured on my property while working, his insurance will cover it"
Contractors are trained professionals, but accidents can and do happen. However, 38% of homeowners in Ontario incorrectly believe that if a contractor is hurt on their property while working, they will not be liable.
"If a contractor or their employees are injured on your property, you could be liable for their medical bills, lost wages, or damages for pain and suffering - all out of your own pocket," says Minor. "When choosing a builder, ask to see their public liability insurance certificate. The amount of insurance coverage they have would depend on the type of renovation, the number of employees and cost of the renovation. The higher the limits of coverage, the more protection you would have."
Myth #3: "Renovations don't affect my insurance coverage"
Many Ontario homeowners don't know which renovations can decrease premiums, but are willing to find savings: 84% said they would be likely to make certain upgrades to their home if they could save money on insurance premiums in the longer term. "Simple renovations like installing security devices, such as alarm systems and deadbolts, or fixing your weathered roof may decrease your premiums," says Minor.
On the other hand, many homeowners in Ontario don't know the types of renovations that can impact their premiums: 55% don't know that installing granite countertops or expensive appliances could increase their premiums, and one-in-five are unaware that upgrading your electrical system or replacing a weathered roof could lower your premiums.
"Remember, anything that may impact the value of your home or probability of a claim will also affect what and how much insurance coverage you need," says Minor. "Although water proofing your basement may not be as exciting as new stainless steel kitchen appliances, these types of renovations can help protect your home and belongings. It's always a good idea to talk to your insurance provider to understand more about your coverage."