It’s natural to want to improve and upgrade your living space. Perhaps you’re planning to add an extra bedroom for a growing family, or maybe you’re finally ready to build that dream kitchen you’ve always wanted. However, in the excitement of planning and visualizing these home improvements, have you paused to consider how these changes will impact your home insurance? Understanding how home improvements affect your home insurance is a crucial part of your renovation planning.

The value of home improvements

Not only can home improvements drastically improve your living conditions, but they can also significantly enhance the value of your home, offering both immediate and long-term benefits.

  • Home improvements can transform the aesthetic appeal of your property. This could be anything from a fresh coat of paint to modernizing your kitchen or bathroom. These enhancements can change the entire ambiance of your home, creating a space that is more pleasing to the eye and inviting to both residents and guests. 
  • Renovations can dramatically increase your home’s functionality. Perhaps you’re creating an open floor plan for easier movement and better socializing space, or maybe you’re adding a home office to adapt to the growing work-from-home trend.
  • Improvements like upgrading your heating system or improving insulation can increase the energy efficiency of your home. Such improvements not only make your home more environmentally friendly, but they can also result in significant savings on energy bills over time. Prospective buyers are increasingly seeking energy-efficient homes, so such upgrades can greatly enhance your property’s market appeal and resale value.
  • Adding space to your home, such as an extra bedroom or bathroom, can increase your property’s market value. Similarly, enhancing your outdoor living space with a deck or patio can also add substantial value, offering attractive features to potential buyers and increasing the overall desirability of your home.

While these improvements can add significant value to your home, they also represent a substantial financial investment on your part. Therefore, you must protect this increased value with the right home insurance during renovations. Your home improvements should be reflected in your insurance policy to ensure coverage in the event of damage or loss. 

How home improvements can increase your home’s insured value

Home improvements can add considerable value to your property but also influences another important aspect of homeownership – your home’s insured value. When you invest in your home through various improvements, it doesn’t merely make your living space more comfortable or aesthetically pleasing. These upgrades can significantly raise the replacement cost of your home. 

When you make substantial improvements, such as remodeling your kitchen with high-end appliances and fixtures or adding an extra bedroom, it increases the cost that would be incurred to rebuild or replace your home should it be damaged or destroyed. This is what insurers refer to as the replacement cost. The replacement cost is a key factor in determining the coverage amount for your home insurance policy, essentially acting as the upper limit on what your insurance provider will pay out in the event of a claim.

For instance, let’s say before a renovation, the replacement cost of your home was $200,000, and your insurance coverage was appropriately matched to this figure. Now, you’ve invested $50,000 in a comprehensive kitchen remodel, complete with top-of-the-line appliances and high-quality finishes. The upgraded kitchen means your home’s replacement cost might have jumped to $250,000. If a disastrous event occurs, like a fire, that completely destroys your home, and you haven’t updated your policy, your insurance would only cover the original replacement cost of $200,000, leaving you to cover the remaining $50,000 out of pocket.

Similar principles apply when you expand your living space. Adding an extra bedroom or bathroom increases your home’s square footage, which in turn raises the replacement cost. Equally, upgrading to more expensive materials or installations, such as premium hardwood flooring or a high-efficiency HVAC system, contributes to an increase in your home’s replacement value.

Therefore, it is important to reassess your home’s insured value following any significant improvements. Contact your insurance provider and discuss the changes you’ve made to your home. They can help you reassess your home’s replacement cost, ensuring your policy reflects these changes, and you have adequate coverage for your upgraded property.

Home improvements that could lower your insurance premium

Not all home improvements will lead to higher insurance premiums. In fact, some upgrades could potentially lower your rates. Renovations that enhance the safety, security, and resilience of your home are often viewed favorably by insurance companies.

  • Security Systems: Modern security systems provide comprehensive protection against burglary, trespassing, and vandalism. Installing a high-quality security system can substantially reduce the likelihood of a break-in, making your home safer and less of a risk in the eyes of your insurer.
  • Fire Prevention Systems: Fires can cause devastating damage to homes, making fire prevention a key area of concern for insurance companies. Installing a sprinkler system or smoke detectors can significantly reduce the risk of fire damage, potentially leading to lower premiums.
  • Roof Upgrades: Your roof is a crucial element in protecting your home against weather-related damage. Upgrading to a sturdy, weather-resistant roof can decrease the risk of damage from storms, hail, and other elements. A newer, stronger roof could also potentially lead to insurance discounts.
  • Plumbing and Electrical Updates: Older homes often have outdated wiring and plumbing systems, which can increase the risk of electrical fires or water damage. Updating these systems can make your home safer and reduce the likelihood of such accidents, which may be rewarded by lower insurance rates.
  • Disaster-Proofing Measures: Depending on where you live, investing in disaster-proofing improvements such as hurricane shutters, seismic retrofits for earthquake preparedness, or reinforced roofing for areas prone to high winds can significantly reduce the risk of damage from natural disasters. Insurance companies often offer discounts for these resilience-boosting enhancements.
  • Energy-Efficient Installations: Some insurers recognize the value of energy-efficient installations like solar panels or geothermal heating systems. Besides contributing to environmental sustainability, these systems can also increase your home’s resilience to power outages and fluctuations.

Before embarking on these upgrades it’s advisable to speak with your insurance provider. Different insurance companies may have different policies regarding which improvements qualify for discounts. In the end, strategic home improvements can not only make your home safer and more comfortable, but they can also help you save on your insurance costs in the long run.

How to inform your insurance company about home improvements

Keep your insurance provider in the loop about your home improvement plans. Notify them before you begin renovations, especially if you’re making significant changes that will impact the insured value of your home. You may also need to discuss remodeling insurance, which can provide coverage for any risks associated with the renovation process itself.

Once your renovations are complete, revisit your policy with your insurer to make sure it reflects the new value of your home. Remember to inform them of any safety or security upgrades as these may qualify you for discounts on your premium.

Your home is not just a place to live; it’s also a significant investment. You must protect its value, especially when you make improvements. Home renovations offer numerous benefits, from increasing your home’s value to enhancing your living conditions. However, it’s equally important to understand how these improvements can impact your home insurance.

Remember to keep your insurance provider informed of any significant changes to your property and reassess your coverage needs post-renovation. By doing so, you’ll ensure that your home and its enhancements are adequately protected, providing you with peace of mind as you enjoy your upgraded living space. Plan your renovations wisely and embrace the joy and value they bring to your home, knowing you’re well-covered.