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Old 04-04-2009, 09:46 PM  
Graham
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Default ShortCuts

We often wonder whether we should do it ourselves or hire someone to do the job. Here's my take on it and I hope you agree. Stanley has a couple of neat new hand tools and Bostitch has a maintenance-free air tool and we check them out. We also have a couple of books, one a vintage and the other is kind of weird. Take a look.

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http://www.shortcuts.ns.ca/column



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Old 04-05-2009, 07:19 AM  
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Default Good article

Nice job on the article about DIY or hire out. I agree with your opinion and wish folks would ask more questions.
I have always been a DIY guy, but for things out of my experience level I stop to think....would I do doctoring on me...only if I was in a survival situation.
Your house is the most expensive thing you own. When your car dies...do you rebuild the 2006 engine yourself? Or does it go to a garage?
As a home inspector I see things homeowners do you could not even imagine, and it costs them dearly when someone pulls out of the sale, or they have to take 10's or thousands of dollars off the asking price.OUCH is all I can think of.
So think about it, how much does that actually cost you down the road in continuing maintenance, redoing it correctly, or the worst....the house is destroyed from damage due to collapse or fire or mold infestation.
Sad really.
Happens more than the news shows you.



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Old 04-05-2009, 10:05 PM  
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I'm sure the person who wrote the article in your post had the best of intentions, but I question this statement:

Quote:
If you are doing electrical work and a fire occurs at a later date you better have the certified documents for the work or the insurance company will refuse the claim. The same holds true with plumbing work as well.
In the first few years that I started operating my apartment block I was told that ALL plumbing and electrical work in commercial buildings had to be done by licenced plumbers or electricians, or the insurance company would deny the claim.

So, I contacted my insurance agent with The Co-operators, and she said that wasn't the case at all. Every insurance company recognizes that most landlords of small apartment blocks do many of the repairs needed themselves. She even reminded me that most small apartment blocks have caretakers with no formal training in any trade that are often called upon to do small plumbing and electrical repairs, any one of which could cause water damage or a fire.

Similarily, an insurance company would have to be inexcusably naive to believe that all homeowners hire professionals to do all the repairs needed and renovations wanted in their homes as well. That would presume that insurance companies simply haven't noticed all the home centers popping up in every city in the country to sell homeowners the materials needed to do that work themselves.

This web site recognizes that many home owners do their own home repairs and renovations and suggests that insurance claims may be denied if the work done doesn't meet local building codes:

http://content.members.fidelity.com/...,,1278,00.html

MOST homeowners are astute enough to be aware of what they are and aren't knowledgeable about, and will familiarize themselves with local building codes pertinant to their project before starting the work.

The article also suggests that homeowners should recognize that renovations will increase their home's value, and that renovations or additions to their homes may result in the value of their homes exceeding their insurance coverage. In that case, any claim would be limited to their coverage, not the actual value of their homes.

But, this is not at all the same thing as saying that the work has to be done by a professional or the claim will be denied, which is precisely what that article claims.

Besides, if you were the judge in a case where an insurance company was refusing to pay for water damaged caused by a dead water heater in an attic, and the insurance company's defence was that the water heater was installed by the homeowner 18 years ago, and not by a licenced plumber, what would you think? Most likely you'd think that the insurance company was just using this as an excuse not to pay up. The water heater was obviously installed well enough to last as long as it should. Why then, would you presume that the judge in such a case wouldn't think the same as you and accordingly rule in favour of the home owner?

Finally, it's blindingly obvious that if an insurnace company requires homeowners to hire professionals do ALL the repairs and renovations in their homes or any claim will be denied, they have an obligation to make homeowners fully aware of that fact. If they're not making you fully aware of that, then if they deny your claim because the work wasn't done by a pro, the courts are going to see that as a scam perped by the insurance company on you, and will make the insurance company pay up regardless of what the fine print says.
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Old 04-06-2009, 06:59 AM  
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Default Well

I also agree with some of what Nestor is saying, however nothing is as bad as the "gray" areas of any contract.
Being an expert witness, I have also seen my share of a judges failure to understand some issues simply because they where following what the law states. Common sense does not always prevail, sad but very true.
Here in CT, USA we have the insurance capitol. And while most are good at what they do, some are incredibly bad folks playing naive and running their numbers in a gamble.
Your responsible to get "in writing" what your policy covers. I have had an insurance co. state over the phone that something was covered to a client 100 percent, the fact is after 6 months they will still not pay for a gutted out kitchen due to fire.
Always do your due diligence when hiring an Insurance company, and having your lawyer explain the policy to you is always a good second opinion.

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Old 04-06-2009, 12:29 PM  
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It's Monday morning and I just finished talking to my insurance agent.

She repeated what she told me last time. Insurance companies will look at each case individually. They will be asking themselves:

1. Was the person who did the work reasonably competent to take on the project (given it's nature and scope)?
2. Was the work done in a competent manner and according to the local building codes?
3. Was the loss caused by carelessness, poor workmanship, use of inappropriate materials, or any other factor under the direct control of the person doing the work?

It's those factors that an insurance company will look at before they make a decision on any claim. That's cuz problems can still happen regardless of who does the work and how well they do it. (5hit happens.)

There is NO REQUIREMENT in the insurance policies they sell that requires house repairs and renovations to be done by professionals. There is only the requirement that the homeowner be responsible enough to only take on potentially dangerous work (like electrical wiring, or perhaps plumbing if a pipe connection were to burst) that he feels that he can do with a good degree of competence. That would mean familiarizing himself with the local building code and using the recommended building materials in a good workmanlike manner.

But, what strikes me is that if someone is going to be writing an article on whether or not to DIY or hire out, they have an obligation to their readership to get their facts straight. All it takes is one quick phone call to ANY insurance agent to do that. For them to make the statement that repairs and renovations HAVE to be done by a licenced tradesman or any loss originating with the work done WON'T be covered by insurance, without so much as bothering to check if that's true or not, is just plain incompetence on the part of the author. I wouldn't want to insure his house either.

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Old 04-06-2009, 02:46 PM  
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Default Yes

This is all good.
One thing to add is that when a homeowner screws something up, they may or not be covered due to whatever reasons are. However if you hire a contractor and they screw up, their insurance company is liable, or the builder is ultimately, but usually only for a year.
And yes folks..DIY if you can and are comfortable with the scope, and also recognize when you are out of your league.


Maybe instead of "will" refuse the claim, it should have been "may".
The bottom line is, check with your insurance company.
Let's keep it friendly around here.

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Old 04-06-2009, 03:48 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inspectorD View Post
Maybe instead of "will" refuse the claim, it should have been "may". The bottom line is, check with your insurance company.
Exactly, but there is a very big difference between those two words. They mean completely different things.

I'll bet every new homeowner who read that article is on the phone to his insurance agent trying to find out where he stands cuz he finished the basement of his new house himself.

Quote:
Let's keep it friendly around here.
No reason not to. But, it should be noted that the greater the consequences of screwing things up, the more careful one has to be about giving advice. We're talking about whether you do or don't have insurance on your house for crying out loud. Most people consider that to be a very serious matter.
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Old 04-07-2009, 06:55 AM  
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Default I understand...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nestor_Kelebay View Post
Exactly, but there is a very big difference between those two words. They mean completely different things.


I'll bet every new homeowner who read that article is on the phone to his insurance agent trying to find out where he stands cuz he finished the basement of his new house himself.

No reason not to. But, it should be noted that the greater the consequences of screwing things up, the more careful one has to be about giving advice. We're talking about whether you do or don't have insurance on your house for crying out loud. Most people consider that to be a very serious matter.
Which they should have done before they finished the basement anyway.This is called due diligence on your part.Along with getting it inspected, which is done only half the time also.

Absolutely a serious financial matter, however by stating the facts that getting a professional may save you money, it really causes no real harm and it may also save your life and others. By saying you will not be covered may have gotten folks second guessing about if they should do it themselves. However folks will do what they want anyway, and those that really want to know will call their insurance company and get a definitive answer.
Again...the bottom line is it is between you and your insurance company. Any advice you get from the WWW is only going to get you in a direction, from there, you need to either follow or ignore the advice. With folks volunteering around here, you cannot expect the answer everyone wants all the time, and pointing it out does help.
But lets still keep it in perspective, and get along.

I am starting to wonder why nobody else around here has an opinion.
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:47 AM  
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Thanks to all of you for your responses. Hopefully those doing their own electrical and plumbing WILL check with their own insurance companies first. The ones that I have checked on here in Canada generally say that if a municipal permit has been obtained and the project inspected, they will approve it. That though is the hooker; unless the work is done by a professional (or signed off by one) the municipal inspector will not approve it.
Graham
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Old 04-08-2009, 11:22 AM  
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Like with anything else.
Use common sense and READ the fine print in any insurance policy.
(Never just take the 'word' of an agent over the phone)...

I've done many DIY projects over the years, including being licensed
to do what my state called 'miscellaneous repairs' for others.
(Handy man type work, re-mods, repairs, etc...)

If your in over your head, especially with electrical, plumbing,
it's probably best to hire a licensed pro.
Or at the very least, get with someone who has
worked extensively in the field in the past to help you out.



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