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Watch out for DIY disasters this weekend

Watch out for DIY disasters this weekend

Category: Home insurance

Updated: 28/04/2016
First Published: 28/04/2016

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

The bank holiday weekend is almost upon us, and that means homeowners up and down the country will soon be indulging in a bit of DIY. But is your home ready for it, or more specifically, is your home insurance policy?

According to research from Policy Expert, 67% of respondents will be carrying out some form of DIY this weekend, as is tradition. Happily, 57% feel confident in their abilities, but 20% admit that they've had a costly DIY disaster in the past – and when you add in the fact that 40% either don't or aren't sure if they've got accidental damage cover included in their home insurance policy, you'll soon see where issues can arise.

Considering how much people can spend on home improvements, it could pay to make sure you're covered. Additional figures from American Express show that homeowners can spend significant amounts on sprucing up their home, with men planning to spend nearly twice as much as women on home improvements this year (£4,092 compared with £2,328).

Major structural renovations (such as extensions and conservatories) top the list of desired home improvements, but simpler home repairs, gardening and painting and decorating (among other things) are also on the agenda. Many respondents plan to invest in new furniture, electronic equipment, soft furnishings and kitchen accessories, too, which again highlights the importance of considering the insurance implications, as if you've bought pricey kit, you'll want to make sure it's covered.

"DIY can be rewarding and a great money-saver, but it can also end up costing you dearly if you're too ambitious or have an accident," said Adam Powell of Policy Expert. "Simple DIY projects, such as painting or putting up shelves won't affect your home insurance, but for much larger projects – i.e. ones that require a considerable amount of knowledge and skill, such as re-wiring a house, or even building an extension – it's important to tell your insurer before you begin."

This is for the simple reason that if something goes wrong you may be exempt from making a claim, as the original terms of the policy may no longer apply, said Adam. Indeed, any damage that your insurer considers to be caused by your own actions – such as water damage caused by a dodgy plumbing project, or fire damage from an electrical DIY mishap – probably won't be covered under a standard policy, which could leave you significantly out of pocket.

"If you're not confident with your toolbox but want to have a go yourself, it's a good idea to check with your insurance provider first," said Adam. "Ensuring you have accidental damage included in your policy is a cost-effective and straightforward way of making sure you're not in for an expensive surprise this bank holiday."

What next?

Make sure your home insurance policy includes accidental damage cover. If it doesn't, speak to your insurer, or even compare alternatives to see if you can get a better deal.

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.

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