According to a survey of 2,000 households carried out by Allianz Insurance, 16% have damaged their homers or their property while attempting to make improvements. 20% also admitted to injuring either themselves, or someone else, while carrying out DIY. This is supported by figures from the Society for the Prevention of Accidents, which estimate 200,000 DIY enthusiasts turn up at hospital each year. Interestingly the survey revealed householders in the north east of England have the most DIY disasters, while people in the south east are least likely to have a mishap. Read more about common DIY accidents from the Royal Society here.
One of the main problems is that many people don’t know what they are doing. Research conducted by the company found that two thirds of men admit they only do DIY due to pressure from their partners or a sense of duty. Contrary to popular belief, men are not natural ‘DIYers’. Despite this many may be planning to attempt ambitious and potentially dangerous home improvement projects this Easter involving building, gas or electrical works. Halifax figures show that over a quarter of men have attempted electrical wiring at home, while almost a quarter of men have attempted to fit an entire new kitchen.
Without the proper qualifications or experience these people risk invalidating their home insurance policies if things go wrong. “TV home makeover shows make it all appear so simple, and it’s easy to forget that these are highly skilled professionals. In reality, trying to tackle certain areas you are not qualified for, such as electrics or plumbing, could invalidate your home insurance policy, leaving you liable for any subsequent damage. We’d recommend using a reputable tradesman rather than going it alone,” explains Halifax Senior Claims Manager Martyn Foulds.
Allianz Insurance figures reveal that 55% of those surveyed claimed to have started a DIY job without the correct tools and almost 50% said they had started a DIY job without really knowing how to do it.
“Thankfully people can add accidental damage cover to their buildings and contents insurance to cover them for paint spilt on carpets or hammering a nail into a pipe,” says Simon Coughlin, spokesperson for Allianz Insurance.
Accidental breakage to some parts of the home such as sinks, baths, ceramic hobs and fixed glass in doors is included in most buildings insurance policies. However householders many need additional accidental damage cover to protect against common DIY disasters, such as drilling through water pipes, spilling paint on carpets or putting feet through ceilings.
So before you get bitten by the DIY bug this weekend make sure your policy covers all eventualities, otherwise it could prove to be a very expensive weekend. “We suggest DIY enthusiasts should check to see if their insurance policy covers them for accidental damage in case the job goes horribly wrong,” says Simon Coughlin. “The average cost of a claim for DIY related damage is £600 and our claims staff expect to be busier than usual following a Bank Holiday weekend.” And, if in doubt, get an expert in to do the job!