Blanco County News
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Protecting yourself from liability when remodeling or building
Paragon C&D Builders / Vallone Real Estate
Wednesday, May 13, 2009 • Posted May 12, 2009 10:00 PM

There are lots of things that you will need to consider when building or remodeling a home that are far more complicated than bricks and mortar. There are permits to acquire, contractors to choose, insurance policies to take out and much more. There is a great deal of liability involved in remodeling or building a home and you need to protect yourself. Below is a list of just a few of the things that you need to do in order to protect yourself from liability when remodeling or building a home.

1. Cover your bases by making sure that you have adequate insurance. There are three basic types of insurance that you will need in order to build a home. Keep in mind that if you hire a contractor, the contractor may have these insurance policies already and you will just need to investigate to what degree you are covered rather than having to take out an identical second policy. The first insurance to make sure that you have is workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ Comp is an insurance policy that is required by law if you have people working for you. It covers their medical expenses in the event of a work related accident and protects you as the owner from lawsuits. The coverage is expensive but definitely worth it if the policy ever needs to be used. Workers’ comp can be canceled as soon as the building project is finished. The second type of insurance that you need to be sure to have is liability insurance. Liability insurance protects anyone from anything that happens while they are on your construction site. Some liability insurance policies deal strictly with injuries while others pay out if there is vandalism or damage done to the property during construction. As there are many liability insurance options available, you will want to work closely with your insurance agent or provider to find the coverage that best suits your needs. Other insurance options include coverage for natural disasters, smoke damage, and theft, etc.

2. Find an ethical, reliable, and experienced contractor. When it comes to protecting yourself from liability your contractor plays a huge role. It is your contractor who is often responsible for having adequate insurance, licenses, and for pulling appropriate building permits. Therefore, your contractor should be background checked and interviewed thoroughly. Check with the contractor’s board or the Better Business Bureau to make sure that no complaints have been filled against a contractor you would consider hiring. Check the references you ask your potential contractor to provide to ensure other customers would recommend that you work with this contractor. Ask how long your potential contractor has been in business. Ask for a bid on your job and compare that bid with the bids of other contractors. If there is a big difference in these quotes, whether it is much more expensive or much less expensive, ask why their quote is so different. Ask for a list of your contractor’s suppliers. If your contractor gives you this list, call the suppliers and ask for the contractor’s credit standing (as in does he pay his bills, is he honest in his working relationships, etc.).

3. Do your homework. Many people neglect to protect themselves from more specific liabilities simply because they are naïve. Look at your individual list of things to do and make sure that if you have not hired a professional to do the work you are confident in your own abilities to get the job done. Unfortunately the law is no respecter of persons and even the most well-intentioned person can make mistakes and fail to follow through with a project legally.

Information for this article was taken from http://www.homebuildingremodeling.com.

Always look at the Texas Residential Commission Construction site for registered builders (http://www.trcc.state.tx.us or call 877-651-TRCC). For additional help, information, or services, contact Debbie at (830) 833-4249 or dhomeier@moment.net .

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