Press release:

Homeowners set to tackle DIY over the Bank Holiday, but ten million are not covered should disaster strike

  • Ten million UK homeowners are unaware that DIY or home renovations can invalidate their insurance if they fail to notify their provider first[1]
  • A third (37%) have performed home improvement jobs in the past month, and a further fifth (17%) are expected to carry out renovations over the bank holiday weekend[2]
  • Despite this, almost half (47%) admit to never checking their insurance policy for exclusions on their cover before the work is carried out[3]
  • Six in 10 (59%) of UK homeowners are unaware that an insurer may refuse to pay out on a botched job if it wasn’t previously highlighted[4]  
  • uSwitch.com calls for homeowners to check their policy documents before carrying out any home improvements over the bank holiday weekend.    

As the nation plans to tackle DIY and home improvements this Bank Holiday weekend, millions of homeowners are at risk of invalidating their insurance and could leave them vulnerable should a DIY disaster strike[1].

A third (37%) of homeowners have performed DIY and home improvements in the past month[2], but the majority (60%) are unaware that a botched job may not be covered by their home insurance provider[4].

Worryingly, almost half (47%) admit to never checking their insurance policy for exclusions on their cover before the work is carried out[3].

With three in five homeowners feeling that moving to a new house has become more difficult over the past 10 years, a growing number are turning to home renovations to increase the value of their property[5].

And while some homeowners check their policy ahead of renovating their home, three in 10 (30%) of those who check their policy still fail to notify their insurance provider, meaning they may not be compensated in the event of something going wrong[6].

A further three fifths (60%) are unaware that accidental damage cover is often required in addition to home insurance to cover DIY blunders[7], such as drilling through a water pipe, incorrectly plumbing an appliance or fixing faulty electrics.

The most popular reasons for DIY and home improvements include refreshing the home (59%), upgrading the electrical and plumbing systems (34%) and adding value to the property (29%)[8]

With one in five (17%) of homeowners planning to make DIY or home improvements this Bank Holiday weekend[2], uSwitch.com urges them to check exclusions on their home insurance cover before carrying out the work.

Rod Jones, insurance expert at uSwitch.com, says: “It’s a British tradition to use the Bank Holiday for a spot of DIY. And while it’s a great feeling when you’ve done up your own home, the worrying truth is that very few people realise that you may not be covered if the job doesn’t go according to plan.

“It’s a good idea for any DIY enthusiast to double check with their insurer prior to beginning the improvement work around their home, as failing to notify a provider before the work is carried out may invalidate your home insurance policy. It’s also worth considering whether you need accidental damage cover to add an extra level of protection, as this is sometimes required on top of your standard home insurance policy.

“If in doubt, always speak to your insurance provider for guidance on what is and isn’t covered in your policy. Although it’s often an oversight to do so, double checking your cover could save you plenty of time and money in the long run.”

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

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Notes to editors

All research referred to was conducted by Opinium between 17th – 21st May 2018, with 2,005 UK homeowners who have made home improvements.

  1. Calculation based on number of UK homeowners taken from the ONS 2011 census which states that there are 16.7million homeowners across the country. When asked ‘Are you aware that performing DIY and home renovations can invalidate your home insurance cover if you do not contact your insurance provider?’ 60% of respondents answered ‘yes’ and ‘don’t know’. 60% of 16.7million is 10.2 million.
  2. When asked ‘When did you last attempt either DIY or professional renovations on your home?’ 37% of respondents answered ‘within the last month’ (net). When asked ‘Are you planning to make DIY or home renovations over the next bank holiday weekend?’ 17% of respondents answered yes.
  3. When asked ‘Do you check your policy documents for any exclusions before renovating your home?’ 47% of respondents answered ‘no’ and ‘not sure’.
  4. When asked ‘Did you know that an insurer may not pay for a claim if something were to go wrong in building work that was not highlighted to the insurer?’ 59% of respondents answered ‘no’ and ‘don’t know’.
  5. According to Lloyds Bank research in Homes and Property, three in five homeowners feel that moving house has become more difficult in the next 10 years. According to a report by Hiscox, the number of homeowners choosing to renovate their existing property, rather than move, has soared in the past five years. In 2013, just 3% of homeowners decided to improve instead of move, but in 2018 this figure has increased to 15%.
  6. When asked ‘Do you notify your insurance provider when making renovations on your property?’ 30% of respondents answered ‘no’ and ‘don’t know’.
  7. When asked ‘Are you aware that accidental damage cover is sometimes required on top  of your home insurance policy to cover your home in the event of home renovations?’ ‘60%’ of respondents answered ‘no’ and ‘don’t know’
  8. When asked ‘What are your main reasons for DIY or home renovations?’ 59% of respondents answered ‘my home needed a refresh’, 34% of respondents answered ‘upgrade the systems in my home’ and 29% of respondents answered ‘add value to the home’.

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