Embarking on a DIY project? Check your home insurance

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You may have some extra time on your hands and judging by the queues outside hardware stores, people are seizing the opportunity to get some home improvement jobs underway, particularly with more Britons than ever working from home. Between February and March 2020, Google searches for ‘DIY’ increased by 9% year-on-year, with searches for ‘home improvement’ also growing by 12%.

Not to dampen your DIY gusto, but before you embark on a new project at home, remember to check your insurance cover just in case your efforts don’t quite go to plan.

Be realistic about your capabilities

The resources available to the novice DIYer are plentiful, with a supply of hints, tips and video guides available online, you might be feeling confident about tackling a job yourself and saving a bit of money, rather than leaving it to an expert. It is important to be realistic about your capabilities; DIY can often cause more work when jobs go wrong, with the average self-made DIY complication costing an additional £217 on top of the original amount spent to do the job. On a national scale that’s equivalent to £1.1 billion spent on DIY repairs every year.

Some of the most common DIY disasters are paint spillages, damaged walls, burst pipes damaged electrics, flooding when mending pipes, broken windows and damaged/broken fences.

Are you covered for accidental damage?

Despite your best intentions, accidents do happen. Having the correct home insurance in place before you begin a DIY project will ensure adequate cover, if required.

Don’t assume that a home insurance policy will cover your DIY disasters, because accidental damage cover usually comes as an optional extra with most policies. Standard home insurance may provide only very limited cover for accidental damage.

In 2017 one insurer reported 42% of home insurance claims were for accidental damage. Full accidental damage insurance would cover you for things like repairing a burst pipe caused by drilling, putting your electrics back in working order after a botched rewiring job, repairing your ceiling after a foot has gone through the loft floor and replacing your carpet after a paint spillage.

As with every type of insurance cover, there are exclusions and excesses that apply, so it is important that you check your cover meets your needs and expectations.

Leave it to the experts

If in doubt, leave it to the experts. Some jobs, such as electrical work, plumbing, structural renovation and roof repair, are best left to the professionals and have a higher risk of going wrong, along with more costly consequences.

If you are embarking on a project, remember to take care, make sure you have the tools and knowledge for the job you’re undertaking, and check your insurance cover before you begin. It’s important to make sure your home and contents insurance meets your needs.

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