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DIY warning for home owners ahead of Bank Holiday

Ahead of the bank holiday weekend new research reveals that millions of people could be putting themselves and their property at risk by undertaking DIY jobs without professional help.

The study shows that only 43% of home owners would employ a professional tradesman to undertake home maintenance jobs while 58% would attempt the jobs themselves or would enlist help from friends or family and 7% just don’t bother with maintenance jobs.

GoCompare Home Insurance, which commissioned the research said it is worrying that
29% said they would attempt plumbing jobs, 24% would undertake electrical work while 13% would try to fix the boiler or central heating system.

It points out that for safety reasons, electrical, plumbing and gas work should be carried out by a registered professional and tackling jobs you’re not qualified for could also invalidate your home insurance, leaving you liable for the cost of repairing any subsequent damage.

The survey also asked home owners about the maintenance jobs on their to-do lists. Servicing the boiler topped the list followed by repairing cracked walls, re-doing exterior paintwork and fixing damp problems.

Other jobs include replacing boundary fences and walls, dealing with blocked and damaged gutters, repairing brickwork and mortar, fitting smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, replacing sealant in the bathroom, and updating wiring.

Before tackling any DIY jobs, GoCompare is urging people to check their home insurance to ensure they’re covered against accidental damage and their planned work won’t invalidate their policy.

Most policies don’t cover accidental damage to home or belongings unless they have been specifically added to the cover. A review of home buildings and contents insurance policies found that only 17% of buildings and 16% of contents policies include cover for accidental damage as a standard policy feature.

Indeed, 81% of buildings and 82% of contents policies offer accidental damage cover as an optional extra, while 2% of buildings and 2% of home contents policies exclude cover altogether.

‘We’ve all heard horror stories of botched DIY, where someone has accidentally knocked a nail through a water pipe or drilled through complex wiring. What people may not be aware of is some these well intentioned DIYers may have had to pick up the bill for the repairs if their home insurance doesn’t cover accidental damage. You also should be aware some policies will exclude damage caused by cleaning,’ said Ryan Fulthorpe, home insurance expert at GoCompare.

‘Accidental damage cover provides for loss or damage to your property and possessions as a result of an unforeseen accident. Common reasons insurers give for refusing accidental damage claims are that the policy did not cover the event that occurred, or that it wasn’t an accident,’ he explained.

‘Policies also exclude cover for poor workmanship or faulty materials. So, a claim for damage caused by dodgy DIY work or for tasks such as plumbing or electrical work you’re not qualified to do may be refused. Water damage is among the most common household claims. However, policies exclude damage which has occurred gradually or, damage which could have been avoided by regular maintenance such as cleaning gutters of leaves,’ he added.