For many of us, summer is our DIY project season, when the weather is finally just right to get things done. Whether you own, rent, or are somewhere in between, I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying that “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” Maybe you’re not the handiest in the world but after a few internet videos, you’re ready to give that elbow joint a try – to get the sink moving and save a few bucks. Alternatively, maybe you’ve built in entirely new features into your home with your own two hands, like a pantry, or a tool closet – I’ve even seen someone turn part of a stairway into a cabinet! The big question is how does your carrier put a value on that?
My advice to customers in these cases has always been to save receipts for materials purchased if possible. If you paid with a credit card, stores (or your bank) can look up those receipts in your hour of need. If you paid cash, keep a journal or leave a note somewhere. Your carrier may not except your notes, but I’ve always felt that at the time of a claim it’s better to have some info available than to stand there empty-handed.
For cars and motorcycles, home-made is a bit more complicated. Before you even start to discuss how to value your baby, however, you should ensure that your carrier has the right type of policy for your favorite pastime. Some carriers will want a list of parts, some might even offer replacement cost options, while others won’t even consider covering a kit bike or a hot rod, leaving you with thousands in repair bills at the time of an accident – and of course, so much time that went into the project, now lost. While your liability from your primary auto or motorcycle policy *should* follow you in most cases, if you’ve custom-built yourself a car or a chopper from the ground up, I’d imagine you probably care about more than just legal defense.
The best advice that I can give you, is that if something is important enough to receive your time, money, and sweat equity, give your insurance agent or account manager a call to be sure that your policy is also being custom-built to protect your work. Two things we always seem to want more of in this world are money and time, so anything that’s taken a both of yours is worth protecting.