Halifax issues warning to bank holiday DIY enthusiasts

Householders embarking on a home improvement project this May bank holiday (5th May) are being urged to check their home insurance to avoid stumping up thousands of pounds to fix DIY disasters.

Last year alone, Halifax Home Insurance recorded over 32,000 accidental damage claims, many of which were DIY-related such as spilling paint or drilling through pipes.

In total the insurer paid out over £11m for accidental damage, with each claim costing an average of £339. Last May saw almost £1m in accidental damage claims, partly due to botched bank holiday home ‘improvement’ jobs.

According to the Halifax Home Maintenance Monitor** householders were more likely to carry out aesthetic DIY work such as painting and decorating (86%) and assembling furniture (77%) than tackle maintenance issues such as clearing gutters (55%) or repairing fittings and cracks (63%).

The report also found 5% of homeowners have experienced damage to their homes as a result of DIY going awry. Despite this, more than a quarter (27%) were unaware of what is covered by their policy.

Martyn Foulds, senior claims manager, Halifax Home Insurance, confirms that May bank holiday is a key time for homeowners to dig out their tools and indulge in a spot of DIY.

“Even with the best intentions things can go wrong from time to time, which is why checking that you have the right level of buildings and contents cover is a small investment which can provide extra peace of mind.

For more specialist jobs involving gas, electrical, plumbing or structural work, it’s essential to call in the experts, otherwise homeowners risk invalidating their home insurance policy.”

Halifax Home Insurance offers the following tips to help those planning to DIY this bank holiday weekend:

1. Preparation is key – make sure you have all the correct tools and equipment for the job before you start to avoid coming unstuck later on

2. Plan a budget beforehand and stick to it

3. Call a professional for jobs involving gas, electrical or plumbing work. When choosing a tradesman, ask for references and certificates to demonstrate that they are competent

4. Contact your insurer if any work is being carried out which may alter the structure or layout of the home such as an extension or garage, etc

5. For major building works, you may need to seek 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 it is worth considering purchasing additional accidental damage cover to protect against common DIY mishaps such as spilling paint, drilling through pipes, or putting feet through ceilings.