Home Remodeling and Insurance

You’ve hired a reputable builder, collected paint swatches and selected the siding and now you’re finally ready to start that long-awaited remodeling project. Before you begin construction, there is one more thing that you need to do—talk to Cleary Insurance, Inc.!

Advice for Do-it-yourselfers

If you decide to do it alone and manage a renovation yourself, you assume all the risks. A review of your homeowners coverage for liability and property is prudent, as you are assuming more risks and exposures than contemplated by homeowners insurance.

Hiring subcontractors who can provide you with a “Certificate of Insurance” or copies of their policies showing their general liability and workers’ compensation coverage is mandatory for your legal protection.

If a friend or relative helps out as a favor—no money changes hands—and gets injured, your homeowners insurance typically covers the cost of their injuries, up to your policy limits. It’s important to note that a homeowners policy is not designed to provide primary liability protection for these injuries. If a helper is seriously injured, the domino effect can be financially and emotionally difficult for all who are involved. For an extra layer of protection, it’s a good idea to also carry umbrella liability coverage, which kicks in to provide liability coverage above your homeowners limits.

Insuring the Real Value of Your Home

Experts estimate that one-fourth of remodeling projects add at least 25 percent to the value of a home, yet often most homeowners forget to increase their coverage to protect their investment. Most homeowners insurance policies require 100 percent of the home’s replacement cost, so it’s important to raise your home’s policy limit before your project begins.

The Basics

When undertaking a remodeling project, people often forget to review their insurance needs, too. Whether your addition budget is large or small, you are adding both the value of your home and your exposure to risk. To ensure that your project goes smoothly and that you have the coverage you need, here’s what you need to know.

Working with General Contractors

The best way to minimize your renovation risk is to hire a reputable general contractor for the job. As part of the bidding process, ask the general contractor to provide a Certificate of Insurance and/or copies of the policies. Specifically, check for coverage for the following:

  • Workers’ compensation: Verify that he or she has workers’ compensation coverage in the event that an employee or subcontractor gets hurt on the job.
  • General liability: Ask if the contractor has liability insurance, which covers losses due to negligence and errors or omission, which results in property damage. Also, ask that you are added as an “additional insured.”
  • Builders risk: This policy is designed to cover damage to your home and materials, including those not installed yet. We can help you verify whether you should require this from your contractor, based on your renovation project.
    If they don’t carry the proper coverage, they are not the right contractor for the job!

Your Insurance Partner
Adding to your home is exciting, but poses financial risks. Contact Cleary Insurance, Inc. at 617-723-0700 to learn more about all of our home, auto and life personal risk management solutions.

Client Spotlight: George and Margaret Green

This fall our client focus is on George and Margaret Greene. George and Margaret moved to the North Shore of Boston from England in 2010. Prior to moving here, they raised their family in Hong Kong where George taught at the university for 38 years.

During trips back to Hong Kong they stayed in a guest house on campus where they met a young Kenyan and learned about his project to give girls in his county a chance at a high school education.

In Kenya, the government provides an education through the eighth grade. Once through the eighth grade, many are left in a perilous situation where they might be married off or worse. Many will never get out of their village.

George and Margaret visited Kenya on two occasions and set up the Evergreen Initiative to support as many young girls as possible to receive an education and escape the future that awaits them.

This is a true grass roots effort. Every dollar they raise gets to the girls. To put a girl through a year of school, approximately $750 to $1,000 is needed depending on the transportation costs of the bus. This money covers tuition, books, uniform, shoes, hygiene products and transportation to school.

Below please meet Irish and Beatrice, who will be High School seniors in January 2023. They are two of 4 girls currently being supported by Evergreen Initiative. If you would like to support this effort and girls such as Yvonne, please send Margaret an email at margaretgreene166@hotmail.com.

How to Know if Your Retirement is on Track?

Presented by Matt Clayson

The journey to financial independence and wellness starts with saving. But for many people, that can be a challenge, especially in trying economic times.

But there are strategies and mechanisms that can help you get on track for retirement.

If you are not currently saving … start

For people in their younger years, starting a retirement savings plan can be the biggest challenge, but also the most important step toward ensuring financial security and well-being in the future, even if that future seems far off.

Why can it be a challenge? Often, those just starting out in their career and working life are saddled with a large amount of student loan debt. That presents a question about whether it’s better to direct resources to paying off debt or start building a nest egg for retirement. The answer will be different depending on individual circumstances, but will probably lie somewhere in the middle.

Those starting out also likely face lower paychecks than those whose experience have allowed them to command a higher salary. Amid living expenses and day-to-day demands, setting aside money for retirement savings can seem like less of a priority.

Which is a mistake. For one thing, many employers offer incentives for company-sponsored retirement savings programs, typically matching a certain percentage of contributions. Not taking advantage of such saving plans amounts to essentially turning down a pay raise. Also, starting a savings program, especially in early years, takes better advantage of compounding interest over time.

That math can help those starting a savings program in later years, too.

If you think you can’t afford to save, you may want to look at moves to improve your financial wellness and allow at least some funds to go into a savings program. These steps include:

  • Creating a budget. This is central to getting a handle on your personal finances. It will also likely identify areas where cutbacks may be possible in order to direct some money to savings.
  • Learning to manage debt. This is the area that trips up many people. Credit cards can lead consumers to rack up more in obligations than is necessary or wise. On the other hand, some types of debt are necessary. Understanding the kind of debt you have and having a plan to tackle it is a positive step.
  • Managing student loans. For those starting out, student loans may be a part of the debt load. Beyond setting an overall debt plan, investigate the specific options available to you for student loan debt.

Those already saving may still want to take a couple of steps to make sure they are on course to meet their retirement goals.

First and foremost, make sure you are on track. This will help you gauge how your savings are stacking up against your likely needs.

If you are falling behind, you may consider ways to save more, especially if you still have a number of years until your likely retirement. Since many people have some portion of their paycheck deposited directly to a retirement savings account, some simply try increasing that percentage.

Additionally, you may want to do some retirement savings account housekeeping. This can include checking to be sure your beneficiaries are current and taking steps to make sure you are always current on your account status. But, perhaps more importantly, it also includes making sure your investment asset allocation is correct for your age and risk tolerance.

If you are approaching retirement … double check

Estimates vary as to how much in savings you should have to maintain your current standard of living in retirement. They typically range from six to nine times your annual income and can be affected many factors, like geography and market conditions.

If you find that you are falling short, there are steps you can take. For one, most qualified retirement savings plans allow for stepping up contributions as you approach retirement. Make sure you are taking full advantage of those provisions.

Also, you should check on your Social Security status and formulate a claim strategy. Many file for benefits as soon as they can. But benefits grow the longer you wait. So for some, it might make more sense to delay filing, depending on the level of their retirement savings, their health, or the possibility of continuing to work for more years.

Conclusion

No matter your age, saving is a critical element of financial wellness. So, it’s important to understand where you stand in the savings cycle in relation to the retirement you’d like to have. And whether you are early in your working years or nearing retirement, understand the options and steps you can take to try and make sure that your retirement savings meet your needs.

Feel free to reach out to schedule a discussion with our retirement planning specialist.

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