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Insurance Insights: Protecting Your Owner-Built Dream

By April 19, 2024Uncategorized

Building your own custom home is a significant undertaking. The journey is filled with the promise of creating a space that perfectly reflects your needs and desires. However, alongside the thrill of design choices and construction milestones comes the responsibility of managing risk and ensuring your home is protected throughout the construction process.

One crucial aspect of risk management and safeguarding your investment during your owner-builder custom home project is securing proper insurance. While homeowner’s insurance will come into play once your dream home is complete, during the construction phase, you’ll need specialized coverage. This is where builder’s risk insurance enters the picture. This blog post dives into the world of insurance for owner-built custom homes, specifically focusing on Builder’s Risk insurance and how it differs from General Liability insurance.

What is Builder’s Risk Insurance?

Imagine the foundation poured, the framing complete, and then – a storm rolls through, damaging the exposed structure. Builder’s risk insurance, also known as “course of construction” insurance, is a temporary insurance policy that safeguards your owner-built custom home against physical damage and loss during the construction process. It typically covers:

  • Weather events: Damage caused by wind, hail, rain, lightning, and snow is usually covered.
  • Theft: Builder’s Risk can protect your building materials, tools, and appliances from theft or vandalism.
  • Fire: Coverage for fire damage to the structure and materials is often included.
  • Falling objects: Damage caused by falling trees, debris, or other objects is typically covered.
  • Labor costs: In some cases, the policy may cover additional labor costs incurred due to a covered peril, helping you rebuild without significant financial strain.

Why is Builder’s Risk Insurance Important for Owner-Builders?

As an owner-builder, you’re assuming a greater level of responsibility compared to working with a traditional builder. Builder’s risk insurance acts as a safety net, providing peace of mind and financial protection in case of unforeseen circumstances. Here’s why it’s crucial:

  • Financial security: Imagine a fire damaging the framing of your nearly completed home. Without builder’s risk insurance, the financial burden of repairs or reconstruction would fall entirely on you.
  • Peace of mind: Knowing that your investment is protected allows you to focus on the construction process with less worry.
  • Lender requirements: If you’re financing your owner-builder project, your lender may require proof of builder’s risk insurance as a condition for the loan.

Understanding Coverage Limits and Exclusions

Builder’s risk policies typically have coverage limits, which represent the maximum amount the insurance company will pay for a covered loss. Carefully review these limits with your insurance agent to ensure they adequately cover the value of your project, including materials, labor, and potential debris removal costs.

Important Considerations for Builder’s Risk

  • Coverage limits: Carefully review the policy limits to ensure they adequately cover the estimated value of your completed home.
  • Named perils vs. all-risks: Some policies cover only named perils (those specifically listed), while others offer broader “all-risks” coverage. Understand the difference and choose the coverage that best suits your needs.
  • Exclusions: Be aware of any exclusions in the policy, such as damage caused by earthquakes, floods, or faulty workmanship.

Speaking of exclusions, it’s also essential to understand what’s excluded from your builder’s risk policy, so let’s dive deeper into the exclusions above:

  • Flood damage: In flood-prone areas, you may need separate flood insurance.
  • Earthquakes: Earthquake coverage typically requires an additional endorsement.
  • Faulty workmanship: Builder’s risk insurance doesn’t cover construction defects or errors made by you or your hired workers.
  • Intentional damage: The policy won’t cover vandalism or theft if it’s determined to be intentional.
  • Worker injury: Builder’s risk insurance doesn’t cover worker injury or slips and falls on the job site.

Builder’s Risk vs. General Liability Insurance: Key Differences

While builder’s risk protects your property under construction, general liability insurance addresses a different set of risks. Here’s a breakdown of the key differences:

  • Coverage focus: Builder’s risk focuses on physical damage to your construction project. General liability insurance protects you from lawsuits arising from bodily injury or property damage caused by your actions or those of your hired workers during construction.
  • Who it protects: Builder’s risk primarily protects your financial investment in the construction project. General liability insurance protects you, your workers, and potentially even third parties from financial losses related to accidents or negligence during construction.

In essence, Builder’s Risk protects your property, while General Liability protects you from lawsuits. Both are crucial for a safe and secure owner-built custom home project.

Do I Need Both Builder’s Risk and General Liability Insurance?

In most cases, the answer is yes. Builder’s risk safeguards your project against physical damage, while general liability insurance protects you from potential lawsuits. Both are essential for comprehensive risk management during your owner-builder project.

Getting Started with Builder’s Risk Insurance

To secure builder’s risk insurance, Built Green will help you contact reputable insurance agents with experience in owner-builder projects. These agents will guide you through the process, explain different policy options, and help you choose the coverage that best suits your project’s needs and budget. Here are some key questions to ask your agent:

  • What types of covered perils are included in the policy?
  • What are the coverage limits for materials, labor, and debris removal?
  • Are there any exclusions that I should be aware of?


Built Green Custom Homes: Your Partner in Building Your Dream

At Built Green Custom Homes, we understand the complexities of owner-builder projects. We can guide you through the insurance selection process, directing you to an insurance agent who will ensure you have the right coverage in place.

We are committed to helping you turn your vision into a reality, safely and securely. Contact Built Green Custom Homes today to discuss your owner-builder custom home project and get expert advice on navigating the world of insurance for your dream home.

author avatar
Dennis Celsor