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San Antonio home inspector Russ Ratliff


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San Antonio home inspector Harold Ratliff

Office: 210-584-0454
Mobile: 210-860-6727


Providing Services throughout San Antonio and surrounding areas:

Balcones Heights
Canyon Lake
Monticello Park
New Braunfels
San Marcos
Universal City

Proud Members of:

     TAREI            S.A. TAREI

     BBB Accredited Business
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Home Inspection News Articles for San Antonio Home Buyers and Sellers
Insuring Home Improvement Success
When you're spending a small
fortune on home improvements,
the last thing you want is to lose
money on it. That’s why it’s wise to
take all the necessary steps to insure
your project before you begin.

For starters, contact your insurer.
Some remodeling projects can leave
your home temporarily exposed, both financially and physically. Materials could be stolen from the job site before they are installed. The addition of a second or third story on your house might leave your home exposed to the elements, many of which might not be covered under a typical homeowners policy.

If you’re planning a large project, you should be able to purchase temporary coverage in the form of an insurance rider just in case there is an accident or theft on the job site. Your insurance agent can advise you on short-term coverage options.

Next, only hire a contractor who is properly insured. When hiring a contractor, ask for proof of personal liability, workers’ compensation, and property damage insurance. Any subcontractors or specialized contractors should also show evidence of property damage insurance. The reason being, if a professional contractor is working on your house and one of their workers is injured, you don’t want to be liable. If the contractor damages something, destroys something or burns your house down, you want to be protected.

Likewise, if the contractor's tools or equipment are stolen or damaged while the project is happening, their insurance should cover those costs. An uninsured contractor may quote you a lower price for the project, but you'll pay the price if something goes wrong during the job. And don't take the contractor’s word for it that he or she is insured, ask for their certificate of insurance and verify the information with the insurer.

If you are doing the work yourself, there is no need for general liability or workers’ compensation insurance. However, depending on your qualifications, your agent may recommend that you hire a professional instead. Any type of work that would require a license, such as electrical work, should be performed by a licensed professional. In the event you cause damage to your property and your insurance provider determines that your negligence caused the damage, your homeowners policy may deny payment for the claim.

Obtain building permits. Most renovations or remodeling projects will require building permits, especially if any part of the structure of your home will change. And the work must comply with building codes set forth by the city or county government. Contact your local government to determine whether or not your project requires a building permit. If it does, have the contractor apply for the permit. Upon completion of the work, a building inspector will inspect the contractor’s work.

If the work is not up to code and fails inspection, the contractor is liable and must make any necessary modifications in order to pass inspection. An inept contractor can affect coverage under your policy. The insurance company could refuse coverage on a home addition or other renovation if it does not meet building code.

Estimate the value of the project. Not all home improvement projects warrant a change to your homeowners policy. If you remove linoleum flooring in the bathroom and replace it with ceramic tiles, upgrade an appliance or install new countertops in the kitchen, your current coverage is probably sufficient. But any time you invest $10,000 or more into your home, call your insurance agent. Sometimes it’s even worth calling your agent if the home improvement is under $10,000. For example, replacing the roof or installing a new heating and cooling system can actually lower your insurance premiums.

Carefully review your policy. Once the work is finished, your agent can help you determine the new value of the property. Consider the project incomplete until you review the policy with your agent and make any necessary changes to it. You want the policy to reflect the home’s new value for obvious reasons. If your home burns to the ground and you were underinsured, the insurance company will only pay the policy limit unless you carry extended replacement cost coverage. Even then, you may not be adequately covered.
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