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Check your home insurance before doing DIY this bank holiday

21 May 2008 / by Joy Tibbs
Many practical types will be looking forward to getting stuck into a bit of DIY over the bank holiday; however, Zurich is warning homeowners to make sure they are insured in the event of botch ups.

According to the home insurance company, ambitious homeowners end up paying out more than £1.5billion collectively each year in order to repair DIY disasters. Zurich found that 16 per cent of homeowners who have tried DIY have been forced to get outside help to fix their mistakes.

More than a third of those requiring professional help were attempting their own home improvements in order to save themselves money. But inexperience often leads to a call for professional help, which costs £280 on average.

Home insurance is another area where homeowners are not taking enough care according to Zurich. Its research shows that 47 per cent of home improvers fail to tell their insurance provider of major DIY works being carried out and 73 per cent do not know whether their home insurance policy would cover DIY mistakes they or their partner might make.

The majority (87 per cent) would do DIY without even checking whether they were covered, either for the work or any damage caused before they got started. And 17 per cent do not have accidental damage cover.

Technical underwriting manager, Steve Gilbert, said: "Doing it yourself can be a great achievement but we would like to remind all DIY novices that they can often endanger themselves and their property, so if you are unsure, always call in a professional.

"It's a good idea to call your insurer to check that you are covered in the event of DIY going wrong, and certainly to make sure that any structural changes won't void your policy."

Meanwhile, Alliance and Leicester claim the surge in popularity for DIY comes from increased coverage of home improvements on the television. It found that 73 per cent of DIY enthusiasts were inspired by television programmes and that, while redecoration topped the list of home improvements, more complicated work was also proving popular.

The bank also found that the average cost of improving homes in the UK is £11,833. It is offering loans to those considering making changes to a property, which, if successful, could help to improve the value of their home.

Head of personal loans at Alliance and Leicester, Richard Al-Dabbagh, said:

"While redecorating rooms is a quite an easy and inexpensive home improvement, it is in fact loft conversions and new kitchens that can add the most value to a property.

"Homeowners who are looking to make these higher cost changes might consider taking out a personal loan to fund such improvements, but it is essential that they shop around for the best deal to suit them to make the most of their investment."

© Fair Investment Company Ltd