With summer approaching and lockdown still in force, there is a strong urge to improve our homes and pass some time.  But will you just take up the toolbox and get stuck in, or will you have a long hard think about the consequences and how your actions might impact on your home insurance cover?

Market research company, YouGov did some research on DIY last year (2019) and found that just 15% of Brits say that no DIY takes place in their homes or that all work is carried out by professionals[1].  So, pretty much five in six of us are having a go.

DIY Tools

Some of this, of course, is carrying out what we see as simple tasks, like assembling flatpack furniture.  85% of men will tackle this, as will 77% of women.  82% of men and 90% of women will turn their hand to painting and decoration. Interestingly, younger people are more reluctant (or feel they are not equipped) to tackle DIY than older generations. More than double the number of those aged over 55 will take on basic carpentry, than those aged 18-24.

Trouble with insurance claims

But no matter what your age or gender, DIY doesn’t always have a happy ending. Quite apart from the fact that, in around 40% of households, DIY is quoted as a cause of arguments, tackling some jobs might have serious implications if it all goes wrong.  You might also find it impossible or have real trouble making a claim for any damage via your insurance policy, if it’s a claim that has been brought about by your DIY failures.

And there is another thing to think about.  According to safety organisation RoSPA, every year, over 200,000 DIYers turn up at a hospital’s A&E department with home improvement related injuries.

DIY disasters and home insurance claims

According to organisation, Local Heroes, the cost of fixing DIY mistakes in 2017 was around £650 per household carrying out DIY[2].  It’s really worth checking your cover before getting the drill or spanner set out, because not all home insurance will cover DIY disasters such as a self-inflicted flood, a foot through the ceiling or electrical damage caused by hitting cables.

Here are a few DIY issues that could leave a buildings insurance claim in the balance:

  1. Drilling into walls.  You need to consider what lies behind the plaster. Piercing a water pipe is bad enough but hitting a live wire could be literally shocking and life-threatening.
  • Spilling the paint: Paint pots look stable, but they sometimes seem to have a life of their own and could just leap off the top of your ladder, ruining your newly laid parquet floor.
  • Slips and falls: Falling off ladders is a common cause of injury. Even if you escape serious injury, you may just cause damage to something else, as you tumble.
  • Tackling your own plumbing.  Whilst it may be tempting to deal with a U-bend blockage, or try to weld a pipe, it could end up in an escape of water incident, if you don’t know what you are doing or fail to tighten or fit something correctly. 
  • Gas repairs.  Unless you are legally certificated to handle gas repairs, you should not go near your boiler and pipes. If you do, and are not a Gas Safe Registered engineer, you are breaking the law and could be punished, if that comes to light. You could also suffer extensive property damage, should a gas explosion occur.
DIY paint

Check your insurance policy’s small print

The golden rule is to know your limitations. Do you have the knowledge and skills to do a job successfully and safely or will you be relying on a YouTube video or an article on Wikihow?

Check your insurance cover and all of its small print, so that you know what should be covered, should the worst occur.

And if you do have property insurance cover, and have cause to make a claim, it is your legal right to appoint your own loss assessor, to negotiate on your behalf and strive to get you your just entitlement.   

Call in home insurance claims experts

One call to Aspray on 0800 077 6705 can get the ball rolling and provide the support you need.  If Aspray can both project-manage the claim and handle the repairs through its vetted contractors – a bonus in terms of peace of mind and the quality of work that will be carried out – Aspray will not charge you.  You will just need to pay the excess you agreed with your insurer.

Do get in touch, even if you tried to DIY it with your own property insurance claim and have hit a brick wall.  We can step in midway through a claim, or even act if a claim has been declined and you feel that to be unjust.  More information is at www.aspray.com


[1] https://yougov.co.uk/topics/lifestyle/articles-reports/2019/10/11/quarter-brits-do-their-own-plumbing-and-electrical

0.[2] https://www.localheroes.com/0.0.

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