If you’re thinking about make any home improvements this Bank Holiday weekend, make sure you check the small print of your home insurance policy first.
Millions of us have already undertaken DIY projects during lockdown, with research from comparison site GoCompare.com revealing that 33% of people have been tackling jobs around their homes, whilst 44% of us have spent time tidying up our gardens.
DIY retailers Homebase, Wickes and B&Q have all opened some of their stores in recent days, with social distancing measures in place. DIY shops are classed as essential businesses by the government as they sell goods which keep our homes safe.
Whilst making home improvements can make your property a nicer place to live, and boost its value, if something goes wrong, such as spilling pain all over the carpet, or making a hole in the wall, putting things right can prove costly.
A spokesman for GoCompare said, “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 DIY-ers may have had to pick up the bill for the repairs if their home insurance doesn’t cover accidental damage.”
How accidental cover works
Accidental damage cover, as the name suggests, provides financial protection against losses or damage caused to your property and possessions due to an accident. Some home insurance policies will include accidental damage as standard, but with others you will have to pay an extra premium to add it to your policy.
If you’re thinking about undertaking any plumbing or electrical work, don’t. These jobs are best left to the professionals, and it you attempt them yourself and something goes wrong, your insurer might refuse to pay out, even if you do have accidental cover in place. That’s because cover usually excludes poor workmanship or faulty materials, so you should leave this sort of job until lockdown measures are eased and it’s safe for a plumber or electrician to visit your property. Your home insurance also won’t pay out for items which are damaged as a result of wear and tear. Damage caused by cleaning is also usually excluded.
Check garden cover
If you’re planning some gardening and are thinking about buying plants or patio furniture to improve your outside space, check whether your home insurance covers expensive plants and items left out in the open.
According to independent financial information business Defaqto more than nine out of 10 home contents insurance policies provide some amount of cover for contents in the open, although cover limits and exclusions can vary widely depending on the provider.
Brian Brown, Head of Insight at Defaqto, said: “Gardening is a favourite pastime of greenfingered individuals up and down the country, with gardeners reaping the health benefits of spending time pottering around their lawns. However, it’s important to understand that your garden, plants, furniture and outbuildings with contents may not be covered in the event of damage or theft.
“Given the high value of such items as lawnmowers and patio furniture, it’s crucial that gardeners take care to accurately assess the value of all items in their gardens and outbuildings and, if asked, disclose this value to their insurance providers to ensure that they are fully covered in the event of damage, loss or theft.”