UK home owners admit to abandoning DIY projects

More than a third of home owners in the UK have abandoned a DIY project after starting, according to new research.

Some 38% of home owners have embarked on a DIY project but not completed it, and a further 10% have bought the necessary equipment but never even started the job, a survey for Halifax Home Insurance shows.

The research suggests a lack of confidence in skills could be to blame as 21% admit they can’t change a light bulb, while 58% would not know how to put up shelves and 27% are not confident enough to paint their own home.

This may be due to a past bad experience, as 29% admitted to a previous DIY botch, highlighting the need for adequate home insurance including accidental damage cover in case things go wrong.

Last year alone, Halifax Home Insurance recorded over 16,500 accidental damage claims, which included DIY related incidents such as spilling paint or drilling through pipes. In total the insurer paid out more than £9 million for accidental damage, costing an average of £565 per claim.

Regionally, home owners in Yorkshire and the West Midlands were the biggest botchers, with 33% admitting to a DIY mishap, compared to 23% in Wales. Some 70% said they did DIY to save money, 56% because they enjoy it and 10% because they don’t know any good tradesmen.

Halifax Home Insurance said home owners should call a professional for jobs involving gas, electrical or plumbing work. When choosing a tradesman, people should ask for references and certificates to demonstrate that they are competent

They should also contact their insurer if any work is being carried out which may alter the structure or layout of the home such as an extension or garage, and should check if major building works needs planning permission.

Accidental damage to some parts of the home such as sinks, baths and ceramic hobs is included in many home insurance policies, but common DIY mishaps such as spilling paint, drilling through pipes, or putting feet through ceilings may not.

‘Even with the best intentions things can go wrong, which is why checking that you have the right level of buildings and contents cover can provide extra peace of mind,’ said Martyn Foulds, senior claims manager, Halifax Home Insurance.

‘For more specialist jobs involving gas, electrical, plumbing or structural work, it’s essential to call a qualified expert, or homeowners risk invalidating their home insurance policy, not to mention possibly putting themselves and others at risk,’ he pointed out.