Guidelines for Renovation or Construction

Your dream home is almost finished. Then, one evening, the painter tosses work rags into a bucket, locks up the home, and leaves. That night, the rags ignite and produce a fire that eventually consumes your entire house. Could this happen to you?

Penny Insurance Agency partnered with our friends at Chubb Insurance to discover the best ways to protect your home while it’s undergoing a facelift or being built.

How can you protect your home during renovation or construction?

Keep portable fire extinguishers distributed throughout the worksite. A home under construction is particularly vulnerable to fire. Having several fire extinguishers close by can help prevent a small fire from causing major damage. We recommend multipurpose models (Type A-B-C) of at least 10 lbs. in weight. The extinguishers should be situated on each level of your home in visible locations.

If you are renovating your home, do not allow your fire or burglar alarms to be disconnected. When floors are being sanded or plaster work is being done, you can expect a great deal of dust to be produced, possibly triggering your alarm components. Rather than turning off your smoke detectors, have them covered with plastic bags or manufactured tops that can be removed at night, when fires often occur, or replace them with heat sensors.

If you are constructing a new home, plan in advance for fire and burglar alarm installations. To provide protection, a temporary system can be installed as soon as the house is enclosed. Only a phone line and a temporary power source are needed to give you centrally-monitored protection. This will provide automatic notification to the proper authorities of a fire or break-in after workers have left. If a phone line is not available, there may also be wireless options to explore.

Consider installing a residential sprinkler system. If installed during the early construction stages, a sprinkler system is an affordable way to provide protection against a major fire.

Additionally, consider installing an automatic water leak detection system to help protect your property from water leaks and pipe bursts. Often, the instillation cost for this type of system is minimal when compared to the total project budget. This system can also provide peace of mind that if a leak occurs, damage will be mitigated. You may also be eligible for premium reduction credits that could pay for the system over time.

Take steps to keep unwanted visitors away from the construction site. Vacant construction sites can attract unwanted attention and increase the chance of theft and vandalism. Motion-activated lighting, perimeter fencing, gates or chains across driveways, monitored security cameras and security guards are examples of ways you can protect your home while it is vacant.

Clean up every day. Many commonly used construction materials are highly combustible. Make sure scrap lumber, sawdust, cardboard containers and other debris are removed daily. Also, ask painters to remove all rags and solvents at the end of each day, as they are highly flammable and can start a fire if left unattended. If removing all flammable liquids from the jobsite daily is not practical, they may be stored in a U.L. approved flammable liquid storage cabinet located a safe distance from the structure.

Maintain proper coverage. To reduce the possibility of being underinsured during construction, it is your responsibility to notify your agent or broker as values increase throughout the various phases of construction. This will provide for any needed adjustments in the coverage amount for your house or other permanent structures, to reflect the reconstruction cost information you provide. Consider all costs associated with your project—not just the builder’s contract. This may include: architect and engineering fees; interior design work and fees; and additional contracts handled directly by you.

Taking proactive steps to better protect your home may significantly lower the cost of your homeowner’s policy once construction is complete. Renovating or constructing the home of your dreams can be long, arduous process, fraught with risk. Minimize your chances of damage and consult with a Penny Insurance Agent today. Our highly-specialized team members will leverage their experience and industry knowledge to provide you with the best possible protection.