When talking about having insurance on home improvement projects, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to purchase insurance. Although, it’s not a bad idea. Especially, when you are going to be doing the home improvement yourself.
But, what if you are going to be hiring someone else? How do you protect yourself from damages that could happen in the course of them or their crew doing work? There are plenty of ways to insure yourself. But, this might seem like a play on words.
Know Your Contractor
First of all, make sure you know the person who is going to be doing work on your home. That’s probably the best first step you could ever make. That doesn’t mean they have to be a reference or you have to know them personally.
But, there are ways to check them out and make sure they are legitimate. The courthouse is a great place to start when you are researching a contractor. Look up their name and business name. Find any legal history about them. Remember though that a lawsuit doesn’t necessarily mean a contractor isn’t legitimate. Don’t be afraid to ask about any lawsuits that raise a flag. But, a handful of lawsuits should definitely be alarming.
When interviewing a contractor, look at it as a job interview. Ask them questions. The rule of thumb is that a legitimate contractor won’t have a problem answering tough questions. A substandard contractor will try to dodge bullets.
Ask how long they have been in business. Ask about lawsuits and complaints. Ask for references. Also, ask if they have ever done any business under any other name. Then, start asking the tough questions.
Ask them if they are licensed and bonded. Ask them what their insurance covers. Make sure it is very clear who is responsible for any damages to your own home or your neighbor’s. If it’s a job I’m having done on my home, I would make sure that they were responsible for any damages. Also, make sure they provide a clean up when they are finished.
Some of the even more important questions concern whether there are hidden fees. Who is going to secure the permits? It’s best if the contractor is responsible for securing any permits you need. Will the job be complete when all the work the contractor promises is finished? Might seem to be an odd concern, but sometimes a contractor will slip out of a job and leave you hanging with a good bit left to do. Then, you find out that the contractor did all they promised and the job isn’t even close to what you imagined when it was done.
Put Insurance in Place
Get everything in writing. If the contractor says they have insurance, make sure you know exactly what their insurance covers. Try to think of all the contingencies. Maybe even talk to your neighbors about all the contingencies. Consult with others who have had the same job done on their home. Then, talk to your insurance company about the kinds of temporary insurance you can get while a home improvement project is being completed.
You might think that a temporary insurance contract looks expensive. But, imagine the damages if any should happen. It could end up being a disaster for you if you are not covered. But, make sure you check your current policy first. You might already have the insurance you need to cover any damages that you could sustain during any home improvement projects.
Ask your insurance agent. But, don’t let them sell you anything new if in fact you do have insurance that will cover everything. It’s a bad thing to have to say, but a savvy insurance agent will sell you insurance you don’t need and it’s virtually impossible to get money back from an insurance company if you find out that you have been duped.