Contractors and Uninsured Property

Old_Home_LoverSeptember 28, 2012

This may not be the right place to ask this but I thought with so many restoration projects going, someone here may have encountered this same issue.

The house we bought is unlivable and we have been told by multiple homeowner's companies they will not insure uninhabited homes. To get the home habitable we need to have some things done, first of all a roof put on.

Will the liability insurance of the roofer (understanding that we would not work with unlicensed or uninsured for this) cover accidents on our property or would we still be liable for what his insurance won't cover? Has anyone here had this issue and is there a way to cover my butt, say, having him sign a waiver that specifies we will not be liable for any injuries or damages sustained on our property?

Also, does anyone know of any kind of insurance that DOES work with uninhabited homes?

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When we bought our uninhabitable house in the 80's, Chubb wrote a fire policy on it until the time we moved in & then they changed it to homeowners. I don't have any idea if that practice still exists. You might also check with a Travelers' agent as they write policies on older homes.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 12:18AM
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You need an agent that can write you minimal coverage, not issue a standard homeowner's policy.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 10:22AM
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Isn't there something called builders' risk policies that cover liability, and may be materials on site? You may not be able to get fire insurance on the structure (depending on security and state of enclosure of the building) right away, but as the reno progress that will change.

But if you own the property you have liability risk that without insurance might expose you to ruinous expense. Say somebody wanders on to the property and is injured. It won't matter that you had posted No Trespassing signs; you'll still get sued. Even if you aren't forced to pay damages, just defending it will cost you $$.

And contracted workers (and subs), suppliers delivering materials, officials making inspections, utility installers, etc. all could be liability risks, as well.

Stop asking for "homeowners'" policies; obviously that's not the right thing. But there are policies for what you need. They may not be as cheap as homeowners' policies, but you won't have them for long. (With any luck!)

Chubb is reportedly good with old houses, as is Travelers (our carrier). We had a substantial claim (torando in upstate NY) and because we had cost of replacement in kind coverage, not standard coverage, they paid to replace 3-coat plaster, slate, carved wood trim, etc. If you have an old house (restored, or not) you need to delve more fully into insurance issues to make sure you have the coverage you need, anad think you are getting. It's more complicated than you may think. Find a good agent(s) and sit down and discuss, and get quotes.

There's insurance out there for every kind of risk.



    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 1:12PM
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Another thought is an umbrella policy that would protect you if you're sued personally.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 2:35PM
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