What You Need To Know Before You Build Your Home.
Submitted by Eric Kossian of Leavenworth Insurance
We’ll assume you’ve purchased your dream lot and have hired a contractor. Prior to this point, you should have liability coverage either extending from another home policy or have a vacant lot liability policy. Once you start building you still need liability insurance (your vacant land liability policy is now void once construction starts) and you will need dwelling coverage while the dwelling is being built. Your contractors should have a Contractor’s Liability policies covering their work on the dwelling. For additional tips regarding your contractor see the bottom of the page.
Course of Construction Insurance
Contractor liability policies do NOT cover your liability as a land owner and they do NOT cover the building while being built. Both of these needs can be easily and inexpensively covered by you with a Course of Construction insurance policy. These cover the building(s) during the time of construction and typical personal property coverage too, as well as your liability. As with any homeowner’s policy there are usually limitations of $1500 - 5000 for theft of your personal tools so make sure, if you are helping out, your tools are well marked with permanent markers and well secured when not in use as tools are a high theft item. (While many companies have a construction surcharge on course of construction policies, I have found a preferred company that has no surcharge throughout Washington State and they have great rates. And, when the home is done, in most cases they don’t require the hassle of doing a new policy… it rolls right into your homeowner’s policy.
It can be cost effective to buy construction materials now in situations where there are strong indications that prices may increase in the near future. Sometimes you can buy now but have delivery later; whereas some materials may need to be delivered now. I offer, on the same course of construction policy, an endorsement that covers theft of building materials up to $10,000. The cost of this endorsement is just $150.
Statistically, 20% of homeowners are underinsured after a total loss paying the extra out of pocket; often many tens of thousands of dollars because the homeowner, insurance company and the insurance agent all estimated the home replacement cost incorrectly. So once your home is completed, be sure to contact your insurance agent to update your replacement cost. (Homes usually cost 12-15% more than budgeted!) I am one of the few Washington agencies offering a company providing unlimited dwelling replacement cost for your qualifying homes, so in the event your home replacement costs more than estimated, you are still covered!
Other Benefits: Identity Theft restoration service is included free with the all homeowners policies! Best policy also provides $25,000 reimbursement. Literally up to 50% discounts on both home and auto insurance for good to excellent credit rating. (I have saved people up to $1000 a year on just one home.) Affluent clients can get expanded theft coverage for jewelry & tools, worldwide liability, all policies in 1 package policy with just 1 bill.
Additional Tips Regarding Your Contractor:
I recommend you verify in writing that your General Contractor has a Contractor’s Liability policy of at least 1 million dollars – to cover at least the home replacement cost. I also recommend that you get your contractor to agree, in writing, that all subcontractor’s will provide evidence of contractor’s liability to the General, with a copy to you, prior to them starting any work on the property. Contractor’s buy these policies to protect their liability for property damage and injury resulting from their work. You can easily check to make sure your contractor and subs are licensed in Washington State at this site: http://www.dol.wa.gov/business/checkstatus.html
It can also be helpful to stipulate in writing with the General Contractor, for the home to be completed by a certain date or the contractor has to start paying you a daily amount, but allow enough time for reasonable construction delays – which are common. This will help ensure that if your contractor is overcommitted to too many people that your home stays at the top of his priority list. Do not agree to pay much beyond actual work performed. If money for materials is needed, you can make the check out to both the materials company (specifying your project) and the contractor if needed. This ensures that money provided to your contractor for “materials” actually gets spent on materials for your home.
11756 Hwy. 2, Ste. 1, Leavenworth WA 98826
Ph. (877) 548 – 5488
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