April 6, 2021

Spring home upgrade? Don’t be stung by underinsurance

Article updated February 8, 2024

Spring home upgrades often include outdoor living space enhancements.

It’s springtime, when people typically emerge from their winter hibernation like worker bees from a hive and hit the home-improvement stores. If you have a home upgrade in mind, here are a few considerations to ensure your home will be properly protected.

First, check in with your insurance agent. Second, keep tabs on how you are improving the value of your home. And third, document your upgrades. Before you get too caught up in your project, remember to make sure your insurance coverage will keep up. Otherwise, if a severe-weather event, fire or other disaster should strike, you may feel the sting of underinsurance.

Check in with your agent before getting started

As the work-at-home trend continues, Family members’ competing needs for a place to have video chats and meetings can be difficult to manage in many homes. Perhaps you have discovered that your open-concept home layout is a little too open. Reworking some of your living space may be just the ticket.

If you are planning a home-upgrade project, it’s a good idea to reach out to your insurance agent. You will want to make sure your homeowner policy will address your needs. Should a disaster happen, it’s quite possible your current plan will not sufficiently cover potential rebuilding costs for certain alterations or upgrades. Additionally, you may need extra insurance coverage while the improvements are under way. Make sure you have the right plan, with the right coverage, before you dig into your renovation projects.

Pay attention to added value

Fixing up a home office — Over the past few years many families have created or revamped home offices or purchased new office furniture and equipment. Their goals? To boost efficiency and comfort. If this describes your situation, your productivity may not be the only thing that has increased. Consider the value you have added to your home. The increased value created by your office upgrades may now exceed the amount of coverage included in your personal property insurance.

Creating dedicated spaces — Many homeowners have been taking on renovation projects to create dedicated spaces for entertainment and self-improvement. Perhaps you went ahead and turned a spare bedroom into a home theater room, complete with special seating, new lighting and surround sound. Or you may be in the process of modifying your garage or basement to become a home gym. Or maybe you are planning to create a quiet reading or meditation room.

Know that when you make structural changes to your home, the overall value of your home may rise. There is a good possibility that your replacement or rebuilding limits are now too low. There’s no time like the present to get the coverage you need.

Document home-upgrade changes along the way

As spring marches toward summer, you may have plans to expand your overall living space into the outdoors by creating a safe and comforting backyard sanctuary. Or maybe you are adding a play fort or treehouse for the kids. You probably need extra coverage for these external improvements.

No matter what your home-upgrade plans include, be sure to document what you are doing along the way. Take photos or videos before, during and after your project.

If you haven’t already, create an inventory of all new items purchased and keep track of expenses. Add this information to a home inventory so you have proof to back up any damage or loss claims that may someday arise.

It’s a smart idea to look over your homeowner policy every year. An annual review is especially important if you plan to make upgrades or have already completed one or more renovation projects. You will want to be sure to have enough insurance coverage to protect these new investments in your home and property. Your Bradish agent can provide valuable assistance. Don’t let disaster be the buzz kill to your upgraded hive. Focus some of your buzzy spring energy on making sure your home is protected.

by Kris A. Mainellis