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insurance for remodel

jillbot's picture

My husband and I bought a vacant 1908 house in a state historic district in the Pacific NW.  We are doing an exterior and interior renovation and eventually are moving into it.  He is a small time general contractor.  He is doing almost all the renovation stages by himself.  This means there are not big crews coming in and moving super fast, thus not posing liability risks.  On top of that,  the house is right down the street from where we presently live and he is there every day. 

We originally bought a builder's risk policy, but they are red flagging us because we are taking our care and time.  I was told that most of these type of insurance policies are geared towards big companies going in and out super fast, and if they are taking their time, this is a red flag. 

Does anyone know of any carriers that are geared to the small time g/c - owner?  We don't want to feel pressure from this insurance carrier to move faster as anyone who does this knows, it is big enough pressure to renovate an entire house, especially in a historic district. 

You own the house and are (post #210393, reply #1 of 5)

You own the house and are doing the work yourselves, why didn't you just get a home owners policy?

My (very vague) understanding (post #210393, reply #2 of 5)

My (very vague) understanding is that a contractor's policy price is based on the cost of the work, not the duration, and the expectation is that it will be completed on a "normal" schedule.  When you extend the work you increase the amount of risk due to things unrelated to the actual construction activity (eg, someone slipping on the sidewalk) and, with some justification, the insurance company is not happy about that. 

Likely there is wording in the policy to the effect that work must be done reasonably promptly.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

and the winner (post #210393, reply #3 of 5)

and the winner is...............

All you need is homeowners insurance because that is what you are is the homeowner.  Your rate may be somewhat higher because you are not occupying the home but not much different.  Beyond that you should be checking the insurance of all the subs as should every homeowner when they have someone come work on their house...but they never do.

Do note that some homeowner's (post #210393, reply #4 of 5)

Do note that some homeowner's policies are written such that the policy becomes invalid if the home is unoccupied for a given period of time.  Be sure to read the fine print carefully.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Vacant insurance (post #210393, reply #5 of 5)

Most insurance companies will not insure a vacant, or if they do the rates are pretty absurd, regardless of ownership. There are companies that will issue vacant policies (mostly 6 month policies). Honestly, there is something alarming to the insurance company if they are not renewing your previous policy.

I am not saying this is your situation; however, if they feel like they were mislead when they issued the original policy I could see them not wanting to re up with you. the excuse they gave you about the policies being geared for larger companies is just an excuse. something has caused them to feel like the risk is not worth the premium.

Tapco, Erie, or Columbia have been companies I have had sucess with in the past with vacant policy's. Be upfront about your project, be upfront about your time frame and budget and you should be able to secure a new policy...that said, they will ask you if you have ever been turned down by an insurance company and its up to you to disclose this information.

i currently have vacant insurace on a house that is in a similat boat as your situation and renewed throught Tapco with no issue, maybe have your husbands agent try that.


Best of luck.