We are indeed a nation of DIY and home improvement addicts. And, according to a new survey from GoCompare Home Insurance, painting, flooring and a bathroom makeover are the most popular projects to get our teeth stuck into.
According to the data, 68% of the work is undertaken to improve a property’s general appearance rather than essential maintenance 38%. Energy efficiency improvements featured strongly in the list including installing a new boiler or central heating system and improving insulation.
Top 10 home improvements carried out in last 5 years
1: Interior redecoration 50%
2: Replaced the flooring (laid new carpet, wood floor, etc.) 31%
3: Installed a new bathroom 29%
4: Garden makeover 25%
5: New kitchen fitted 25%
6: Installed new boiler or central heating system 25%
7: Fitted new windows/double glazing 21%
8: Installed a new shed or garden building 16%
9: Exterior redecoration 13%
10: Improved the insulation 13%
Just outside the top 10, adding a patio or decking to the garden (9%), electrical rewiring (8%), building an extension (6%), and a new roof (6%) completed the run-down.
Most (87%) homeowners have carried out work on their properties in the last 5 years but only a quarter had spoken to their insurer about their plans or changes they had made. Home insurance policies typically exclude cover for structural alterations, renovations, poor workmanship and faulty materials. So, homeowners tackling major projects they are not qualified to do – such as electrical or plumbing work - could invalidate their insurance.
Before undertaking any major changes to their home, such as adding an en-suite or knocking through rooms, homeowners should consult their insurer to ensure they don’t unintentionally void their policy.
Household building and contents insurance policies generally don’t cover accidental damage to the building or belongings unless cover has been specifically added. So, if a homeowner has a DIY accident while redecorating a room or puts their foot through a ceiling while laying loft insulation, they won’t be covered unless they’ve bought the extra protection.
Analysis of 414 buildings insurance and 428 contents insurance policies by GoCompare Home Insurance revealed that only 16% of buildings and 15% of contents insurance policies include accidental damage as a standard feature. Accidental damage cover can be added to most policies for an additional premium but, a small number of policies (1% of building and 2% of contents) make no provision whatsoever.
Ben Wilson, from GoCompare Home Insurance, comments: “Before undertaking any home improvements it’s a good idea to dig out your household insurance to check whether you’re covered if things go wrong. While you don’t need to inform your insurer about routine decorating or maintenance, it’s a worthwhile precaution to check whether you’re covered for accidental damage.
If you’re planning a major renovation project, particularly if it involves structural changes, one of the first things you should do is to review your buildings and contents insurance to make sure that you have adequate cover both during and after the work has been completed. Otherwise, you could find that you aren’t covered or worse still you might invalidate your policy.
It’s also important to note that most home insurance policies don’t cover tradesmen or their work so, before you employ anyone check they have their own insurance in place. You should also check that any tradesmen you use are qualified to carry out the work and registered with a recognised governing body.”