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Can Home Improvements Affect My Homeowners Insurance?

Add one more thing to your list of items to check on before beginning your next home improvement project: see if changes will impact current homeowners insurance quotes. Although many homeowners don't realize it, changes made to the interior or exterior of a home can have an impact on their insurance policies.

Before Starting

It's very likely that the building codes have changed quite a bit in the time that's passed since your home was originally built, particularly for owners of older homes. Although your policy will not likely cover the work needed to bring an older home up to code, remember that the benefit payout amount will only reflect the original assessed value, and not any improvements you've made. Additionally, your insurance provider may request documentation of all improvements made to the structure, so getting into the habit of thorough research early on is a good idea.

Policy Changes

After improvements have been made to your home, does your policy still offer enough benefits to cover the entire home? If you don't let your insurance company know how much time and effort you've put into fixing up your home, they won't know its current worth. Failing to report the improvements could result in a benefits payout that is far less than the newly improved adjusted value of your fixed-up home.

Include Outbuildings

If your planned addition is an outbuilding or detached structure, you'll need to double check with your provider in order to see if coverage extends that far. Some policies only address the primary home, and will not protect in case of damages to other buildings on the property such as garages or storage sheds. However, many policies will cover other buildings (if not their contents) so it's important to discuss the terms of your policy with your agent if you have concerns.

Landscaping

Outdoor investments such as landscaping are not always covered by basic home insurance policies. However, permanent or long-term improvements such as walkways or fountains may be included in your policy language. Again, covered benefits will really vary among different companies, so make sure to investigate thoroughly before proceeding with any major home improvement projects.

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