Spring in Erie, Colorado, is an exciting time. The weather is warmer, and many homeowners are preparing to begin new outdoor projects to improve their homes. Some homeowners plan to install pools or fire pits, while others plan to enhance the curb appeal of their homes by adding hardscaping or new landscaping.
Regardless of the project you plan to complete this spring; it is important to make sure that your homeowners’ insurance policy will cover the resulting structures, especially if your project will require a significant investment.
About Your Current Policy
Many homeowners planning to complete a spring project assume that the resulting structures will be covered under their existing homeowners’ insurance policies. However, certain outdoor projects are not covered under a standard homeowners’ insurance policy. For example, homeowners’ insurance doesn’t typically apply to hardscaping structures, landscaping, raised gardens, fire pits or other land-based projects.
If your outdoor project is covered, it will be covered under the Coverage B – Other Structures section of your policy. Structures typically covered under this part of your policy include garden sheds, pools, garages, decks, fences and gazebos. However, you should talk to your insurance agent to verify coverage before completing any project.
The limit on the Coverage B – Other Structures portion of your homeowners’ insurance policy is typically calculated as a percentage of the coverage limit on your house itself. In most cases, the limit on Coverage B – Other Structures is equal to 10 percent of your dwelling coverage. However, some insurers may offer a higher percentage. Talk to your insurance agent to find out how much coverage your policy includes.
Certain outdoor structures you may plan to build or install this spring may present concerns for your insurer. For example, if you plan to install a pool, your insurer may not be willing to cover it unless it meets certain safety requirements. Also, some insurers may refuse to cover certain types of pools, such as those that include a diving board. Other types of structures that may present safety or underwriting concerns for your insurer include fireplaces, fire pits, outdoor kitchens and any other structure that involves the use of fire.
If you are planning to install an expensive structure, such as a large gazebo or a swimming pool, you may also need to consider whether the coverage provided by your current homeowners’ insurance policy is sufficient. If the results of the project will be worth more than the limit on the Coverage B – Other Structures portion of your policy, you should consider raising the limit or purchasing additional insurance. If you think you may need additional coverage, discuss the issue with your insurance agent for guidance.
Preparing for Your Project
The insurance implications of spring projects can be complicated. To make sure that your coverage is sufficient and that your project meets all of your insurer’s requirements, contact your insurance agent before you begin.