You’re a Baby Boomer, you’re eternally young, you’re invincible, but geez, it’s been getting a little bit harder to run up those stairs at home, or hop out of the bathtub.
It’s time to renovate, you say, to make your house more, er, maneuverable as you enter your golden years.
But watch out, O Intrepid Boomer.
The “New York Times” had an alarming article on the perils and pitfalls of home renovation. It cited a leading group of insurers saying that home renovations are a big source of claims on homeowners policies and of those claims, and fire is the most common cause.
Sounds very, very scary.
But for those homeowners who fear slipping and falling in an old-fashioned bathroom more than the risks inherent in renovating that very same bathroom, here’s what to think of.
Contractors. Don’t even think about ripping your house apart without a contractor. Hire one so the job can proceed efficiently and safely — ideally, that is. The contractor should have liability coverage and enough insurance to rebuild the house in case it is consumed by fire. Also, it always looks better – from an insurer’s point of view, that is – if you live in the house while it is being transformed. Tear-downs, on the other hand, have greater risk of theft, vandalism, fire and other damage.
Insurers. Be sure your insurer is in on the whole operation. Tell the company about your renovation plans so it can inform you of things to look out for and how much your coverage may increase.
Damage threat. When the work begins, be very watchful. Don’t let oily rags pile up on the work site — these seemingly innocuous twists of cloth can be lethal — they can burst into flames, burn and take your house down with them. These rags plus fumes from stains, varnish and paint can be tinder for a fire set off by a stray spark or pilot light. See that these rags are locked in a fireproof box at the end of each workday. Also, watch out for debris from welding and soldering equipment.
Hope you survive the renovation.