Your attic may be where you store your holiday decorations, old clothes and sentimental treasures, and your basement may be the place for your impressive home entertainment system. But even if these rooms do not factor into your everyday life, they still post an insurance risk. A place you do not visit often can develop problems unseen.
Here are some tips and advice to help you protect your basement and attic and get the most out of your home insurance.
Keep in mind that with any home renovation, your insurance risk changes. Get in touch with your insurance agent to discuss any needed updates to your homeowners policy.
Insurance Risks in the Basement and Attic
If raccoons or insects invade your home, they are likely to start with the attic and basement respectively. If raccoons invade your home, you may notice trails, droppings and noises. While it is possible to trap and disperse of the raccoons yourself, it can be difficult to completely eradicate the invaders and seal up the hole they used to get into the attic in the first place. The best course of action is to hire a professional, local raccoon removal expert.
Similarly, a bug problem in your basement means you should hire a local exterminator to identify and eliminate any pest problem.
If you have someone living in your basement or attic as a sublet or rental, you should talk to your insurance agent about your responsibilities as a landlord. You may need to purchase a separate policy, depending if it is a long-term or a short-term lease.
Basement Improvement Tips
Remodeling your basement adds value to your home. But if you turn a previously uninhabitable area into a living space, there is added insurance risk. A finished basement with new walls and carpet may need water backup coverage if there is a sump pump or water heater down there.
When remodeling any space, be mindful of local laws and ordinances that may be required for creating a safe living space. For example, the International Building Code states that any basement bedroom is required to have an egress window in case someone needs to escape in an emergency.
Flood Insurance = Basement Protection
If you live in high-risk flood area, your basement is the most likely place to flood. This is a well-known insurance risk. Ask your insurance agent about your coverage in case of flooding, and know what coverage you would receive in such an event.
Take pictures of your basement before potential damage. Store these pictures online or away from your home. Pictures and video provide evidence of the status of your basement for your insurance company, which is important when you are trying to recoup the money needed to repair your home to its original state.
Learn more about flood insurance.
Attic Remodel Advice
Many attics are used just for storage but some also have the potential to be renovated into something special. Whether you have the space to turn your attic into an office space, walk-in closet or extra bedroom, you should be aware of the potential insurance risk.
Renovating your attic changes the value of your home and could involve making changes that require more coverage. An attic remodel may mean updating vents to bring them up to code in an older house, or installing power sockets if you plan to change your attic into a living area.
Keeping Valuables in Your Attic
On a final note, you probably have something valuable in your attic, such as a family heirloom, expensive purchases, or collectibles. If these items are particularly valuable or rare, you may want to raise the liability limit or add a rider to your coverage. You assess the value of such an item by providing a receipt or having it appraised. You will need to keep appraisals current and updated every three to five years.
AAA Insurance protects you and your home from the attic to the basement and everywhere in between. Schedule an appointment to speak with an agent today.
Do you have any treasures in your attic? What’s special about your basement? Why is it important to insure these parts of your home? Leave a comment below and let us know.