One of the most important yet commonly overlooked aspects of any renovation is getting proper insurance coverage before any work has begun. Many owners believe they can get by with a simple homeowners insurance policy, but this isn’t the case.
Along with increases in premiums for the owner’s insurance itself, homeowners insurance is not designed to cover things like slips and falls, injuries, and other accidents that can occur during a typical renovation.
If you take out a renovation coverage policy before any renovation is done on the property, you can save time and money. That applies to projects where you’re renovating and when the work is contracted out to another company or individual on your behalf.
Is My Existing Policy Enough?
It is possible in some cases that your existing policy would cover renovations, but it isn’t likely. Many policies are designed only with standard liability in mind, with policies that cover injuries that might occur anywhere within the home or on the property.
For this reason, many owners will assume that this extends to renovations as well. If the liability coverage applies to any injuries on the property, it is reasonable to think that coverage extends to what might occur during a renovation.
Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Renovations increase the risk of injury or accident on the property, so your insurance policy will need to be adjusted in most cases. At the very least, you’d need to contact the insurance company to make sure that they are aware of any renovations and have all of the necessary information on file. In most cases, you should carry:
- Liability Insurance: This policy pays for medical expenses and legal defense if you are sued because of an injury.
- Medical Insurance: This covers payments to others for minor injuries if a guest is hurt on your property. This is typically sold in small coverage amounts, usually between $1,000 and $5,000.
What Else Should I Consider Before Starting Renovations?
Along with your coverage, you need to know that the company or individual you’re contracting is adequately covered and insured as well. This is standard practice in the industry, but it pays to be safe and check your contractors’ insured status before showing up on the property.
It’s surprisingly common for contractors to lack the necessary coverage, leaving the property owner liable without even knowing it. It’s always best to be on the safe side, and any reputable contractor will be more than happy to provide you with all the necessary information on their license, accreditation, and insurance coverage.
Do I Need to Worry About Permits?
Absolutely. You might not need a building or renovations permit in every case, but this goes back to making sure that you’ve done all your homework and due diligence before ever beginning the project. It’s essential as the property owner that you check with all the appropriate authorities so that you’re not missing any of the necessary permits that might apply to your particular situation.
What About the Value of the Property?
With all of these elements of risk comes rewards as well. In most cases, any renovation will increase the property’s overall value, which will, of course, be a boon for you down the line. That makes it all the more critical that the renovation be conducted in a safe and timely manner.
With all liability coverage and insurance policies in place, you’re covered. If the worst-case scenario occurs and someone should get injured during the renovation, you won’t be liable for damages down the line.
What to Do If the Worst Case Scenario Occurs?
Should that worst-case scenario occur and an injury or accident happens on the property, it’s imperative that everything be well-documented and quickly sent to all the proper authorities. This includes the insurance companies involved and any other professionals that might be hired, such as attorneys representing those who were injured.
Unfortunately, accidents do happen, so it’s vital that when they do, you’ve done your due diligence and documented, reported, and prepared according to the best advice possible.
What If I Was the One Who Was Injured?
If you are working on renovations and have a slip and fall accident, be sure to consult with a professional accident attorney about your case. You need to know your rights and what can be done to get you compensated for any damages.
In cases like these, the law will tend to fall under what’s known as premises liability. This can include a significant number of cases, so it’s essential to know just what is involved in this type of liability. Along with slip, trip, and fall cases, this insurance would also apply to accidents resulting from:
- Inadequate maintenance
- Elevator or escalator accidents
- Flooding or other types of water leaks
- Toxic fumes or chemicals in the air
- Swimming pool or amusement park accidents
It can even cover things such as dog bites.
Fortunately, you’re not alone in such cases, and there are professional and experienced attorneys out there who can help. It’s all too common for medical and repair bills to start to pile up and for victims to feel overwhelmed. Liability does fall on the owner of the property, but some damages can be recovered should your case end up in court.
Investigate All Your Renovation Insurance Options
If you are injured in a slip and fall or other similar accident during a property renovation, you need to remember that you have options. As with people on the other side of an accident, you must document everything and get in touch with a legal professional right away.
While liability homeowners coverage and renovation insurance can be a stressful prospect when you’re already dealing with the logistics and out-of-pocket expenses of a renovation, it could not be more critical. So know your rights, do your due diligence, and ensure that you and anyone who might renovate the property is covered adequately before work even begins.