With the worst of winter behind us, many Canadians are thinking about home improvement and starting home renovation plans. Maybe you’re looking to upgrade the kitchen, install a pool or re-purpose an existing space for a home office. While upgrades can be exciting, did you know that renovations can affect your insurance?

Before you start any home renovation work, notify your insurance provider so they can ensure you have the proper coverage during and after the renovation.

Renovations can increase the resale value of your home, but they can also increase the rebuild cost. Your insurance provider can help you to determine when to increase your coverage and by how much. Usually additions, new features and finishing previously unfinished spaces will significantly add to the rebuild value of your home.

With major renovations, you might need to temporarily move out. In addition to making sure your personal belongings are covered at your temporary residence, you’ll want to ask your insurance provider about coverage restrictions and requirements for your home policy. For example, you may need to purchase a vacancy permit, and damage from vandalism or theft of building materials will likely be excluded during construction.

Make sure that your contractor is licensed, bonded and insured. This helps ensure that if anything goes wrong – such as worker injuries or material theft – the responsibility will rest with the contractor, not you personally. If you’re acting as the general contractor, it’s important to make sure you hire tradespeople who are properly licensed and insured and leave the decisions about how work should be done in the hands of the professionals.

Planning to use your newly renovated space to start your home-based business? Home insurance policies are designed to cover your personal belongings and contain strict limits and restrictions on any business items or activities. Even if you won’t have customers or employees coming to your home, your coverage may need to be adjusted to ensure that items such as computers, desks, tools and stock are protected.

Your coverage could be affected both during the renovations and after they’re complete — so make sure you ask questions and understand these changes to avoid any gaps in your protection. At Hudson’ s Bay Insurance, we’re always happy to help and to ensure that you have the right coverage at the right price.