Don’t forget your home insurance
DIY enthusiasts are being warned to check their home insurance to see if they’re covered against accidental damage, and to ensure that planned work doesn’t invalidate their policy.
Easter is traditionally the time for home improvements and the two bank holidays offer an extended break to get stuck into a DIY project.
A significant 14% of homeowners are currently planning a home improvement project, with kitchen and bathrooms topping the list of popular rooms to tackle.
However, most home buildings and contents insurance policies don’t automatically cover accidental damage – you need to specifically add it. So, if you accidently knock over a tin of paint and ruin your carpet or put your foot through a ceiling while laying insulation in the attic, you won’t be covered unless you’ve opted for the extra protection of accidental damage cover.
Research from Go Compare found that only 15% of buildings insurance and 14% of contents insurance policies include accidental damage as a standard feature; although it can be added to most policies (84% for buildings and 85% contents insurance) for an additional premium. However, 2% of building and 2% of contents policies make no provision of accidental damage at all.
Plus the more ambitious home improvers should be aware that home insurance policies typically exclude cover for structural alterations, renovations, poor workmanship and faulty materials. So tackling major projects that you’re not qualified to do – such as electrical or plumbing work – could invalidate your insurance.
That’s why you should always consult your insurer before undertaking any major changes to your home so that you can review your cover and ensure you don’t void your policy.
Ben Wilson from Gocompare.com Home Insurance said: “Accidental damage cover is for loss or damage to your property and possessions caused by an unforeseen, accidental nature. Common reasons insurers give for refusing accidental damage claims are that the policy did not cover the event that occurred, or that the event was not an accident. Therefore, a claim for damage caused by dodgy DIY work may be refused. Similarly, you have a duty of care to protect your home and possessions, so an insurer is likely to take a dim view of a claim for spilt paint damage to technology and entertainment equipment.”
“Homeowners planning bigger home improvements particularly those which involve structural changes such as knocking through rooms or adding an en-suite bathroom, should speak to their insurer ahead of the planned work to make sure they are aware of any restrictions or special conditions that may apply. If the home improvement increases the value of the property, then the buildings sum insured should be reviewed once the project has been completed.”