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Press release from CNW Group

Majority of Albertans don't do their homework before home renovations

Monday, April 29, 2013

Majority of Albertans don't do their homework before home renovations

08:30 EDT Monday, April 29, 2013

- TD Insurance survey shows Alberta homeowners don't have all the insurance facts on renovations -

CALGARY, April 29, 2013 /CNW/ - Most Albertans who decide to renovate their homes this spring will forget an important step: they won't consider the insurance implications of their renovations. According to research from TD Insurance, only 5% of homeowners in Alberta checked their policy to ensure they were covered during their latest renovation and just 13% asked their insurer if their policy needed an update following their upgrades.

"Whether you're installing water-efficient plumbing or simply new cabinetry, before you pick up a hammer or drill, it's important to understand and learn more about the insurance implications of upgrading your home," says Dave Minor, a vice president at TD Insurance. "For example, while being handy around the home is convenient for upgrades such as painting or installing crown molding, more challenging projects like tackling the electrical work yourself could actually invalidate your insurance policy. Speaking with your insurance provider can be a quick way to help clarify the unknown."

Dave Minor busts three common home insurance myths and offers advice for handy homeowners to consider before upgrading their abode:

Myth #1: "My home will be covered under my original insurance policy during renovations"

Fifty-three percent of homeowners in Alberta incorrectly believe they will always be covered by their original home insurance policy while their home is being renovated, and 18% are unaware that moving out for more than 30 days during renovations requires a policy update.

"Upgrades requiring extensive work, such as adding an extension to your home, may require you to change your entire policy to a building under construction," says Minor. "And, if you're not living in your home during renovations, it becomes an easier target for thieves and undetected water damage, which is why your insurer may require you to secure a vacancy permit if you move out for more than a month."

Myth #2: "If my contractor is injured on my property while working, his insurance will cover it"

Contractors are trained professionals, but accidents can and do happen. However, 39% of Alberta homeowners incorrectly believe that if a contractor is hurt on their property while working, they will not be liable.

"If a contractor or their employees are injured on your property, you could be liable for their medical bills, lost wages, or damages for pain and suffering - all out of your own pocket," says Minor. "When choosing a builder, ask to see their public liability insurance certificate. The amount of insurance coverage they have would depend on the type of renovation, the number of employees and cost of the renovation. The higher the limits of coverage, the more protection you would have."

Myth #3: "Renovations don't affect my insurance coverage"

Many homeowners in Alberta don't know which renovations can decrease your premiums, but are willing to find savings: eight-in-ten homeowners said they would be likely to make certain upgrades to their home if they could save money on insurance premiums in the longer term. "Simple renovations like installing security devices, such as alarm systems and deadbolts, or fixing your weathered roof may decrease your premiums," says Minor.

On the other hand, many homeowners in Alberta don't know the types of renovations that can impact their premiums: 21% are unaware that upgrading your electrical system or replacing a weathered roof could lower your premiums, and half did not know that installing granite countertops or expensive appliances could increase their premiums.

"Remember, anything that may impact the value of your home or probability of a claim will also affect what and how much insurance coverage you need," says Minor. "Although water proofing your basement may not be as exciting as new stainless steel kitchen appliances, these types of renovations can help protect your home and belongings. It's always a good idea to talk to your insurance provider to understand more about your coverage."

Looking to learn more about home insurance? Visit the TD Insurance Learning Centre for more information.

About the TD Insurance Survey

TD Insurance commissioned Environics Research Group to conduct an online custom survey of 2,748 Canadians aged 18 and older, including 225 homeowners in Alberta who have insurance. Responses were collected from February 7 to 18, 2013.

About TD Insurance

TD Insurance offers a wide range of products to help protect clients from the 'accidents of life' including credit protection, auto, home, health, life, and travel insurance.  With more than 3 million clients, TD Insurance authorized products and services are available through a network of more than 1,150 TD Canada Trust branches, the Internet and telephone. For more information, visit www.tdinsurance.com

SOURCE: TD Insurance

For further information:

Liz Christiansen / Caitie Wallman
Paradigm Public Relations
416-203-2223
lchristiansen@paradigmpr.ca / cwallman@paradigmpr.ca

Lynzey MacRae
TD Bank Group
403-294-3328
lynzey.macrae@td.com

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