There are many different types of surprises in this world – some are amazing, others you could definitely do without. Inadvertently voiding important coverage in your homeowners policy is definitely the latter. That is why it is essential to understand the terms of your insurance policy. When you apply for insurance, your coverage and rates are determined by the information you provide at that time. If those circumstances subsequently change and you do not inform your insurer, you could risk voiding important coverage. This is referred to in the insurance industry as “material change of risk” which means you have made a substantial change that increases the risk involved in insuring your home.
Bottom line, stay protected by informing your insurance company of any significant changes. What types of activities constitute a significant change? We discuss four of these activities below.
Four common activities and how they impact your home insurance:
Are you one of the many people considering renting out a portion of your home on a short-term basis via Airbnb or other vacation rental sites? In this very expensive Vancouver real estate market, this may be an invaluable means of paying down those substantial mortgages. But, a little research is essential to ensure that this goldmine doesn’t turn into a financial disaster because of inadequate insurance coverage.
A standard home insurance policy is designed to cover the activities of the homeowner and provide liability coverage for guests. However, when someone is paying money to stay in your home they are not considered a “guest” but rather a renter, and your insurance policy must be adjusted in order to accommodate this changed activity in your home.
In addition, short-term rentals carry more risks than the typical rental arrangements. Increased risk of damage, theft or vandalism are all concerns. So, it is essential that you speak to your insurance broker first to make sure that you have adequate coverage. Call us today. We’re here to help.
2. Going On Vacation This Winter?
There are few things more relaxing than a trip away to the warm and wonderful, when your hometown is being pummeled by the wet and windy. But, returning to a damaged home that is not covered by insurance would quickly turn that dream vacation into a nightmare. Therefore, it is essential to understand a few important steps to keep your coverage valid whenever you are absent from your home for more than four days. Learn these essential steps . . .
3. Undertaking a Substantial Home Renovation?
Renovating your home can be a great way to increase its beauty, functionality and value. But, it could also result in your insurance being voided if the insurance company is not informed. So, take the time to talk to your insurance provider before you begin your renovation to be sure you are adequately covered. Here are some important points to consider:
- Insurance policies often exclude coverage for vandalism, water damage and glass breakage for buildings that are under construction. Therefore, you may need to arrange for special insurance to protect you during renovations.
- Moving out to avoid that dreaded drywall dust? If your home is going to be vacant for more than 30 days you also need to inform your insurer.
- It is also important to remember that the premium you paid for your homeowner’s policy was based upon the condition of your home at the time you bought the policy. The renovations that you make increase the “replacement cost” value of a home. To protect themselves from having to pay for reconstruction costs that they did not charge adequate premiums for, the insurance company may determine that the GRC protection would be void. Understandably, this could leave you seriously exposed to financial loss in the event of a claim.
- One final recommendation – it is also essential to ensure that your contractor carries adequate insurance!
For more information on how to maintain your coverage during and after your renovations, call us today. We’re here to help.
4. Starting a Home-based Business?
Maybe you are considering trading in that lengthy commute for a quick trip down the hall to your home office. Or, maybe you are one of the many Canadians who already own a home-based business. If so, it is very important to understand that home insurance polices were designed to cover risks associated with normal activities around your home. These policies exclude coverage for properties that are used in whole or in part for business purposes. Therefore, it is essential to discuss your plans with your insurance broker. We can help you to obtain the coverage that ensures your business and your home remain protected.
Unwittingly voiding your homeowner’s insurance policy is a surprise no one likes to think about. Talk to us about your home insurance needs. We’re on your side.