For most of us, our home is the most expensive purchase we’ve ever made – so it’s important to protect it (and everything in it) with a proper insurance policy.
And if you’re a DIY homeowner who loves to DIY, you should know that your insurance will cover you if something goes wrong.
Is DIY covered by standard home insurance?
Don’t assume DIY accidents will automatically be included in your insurance policy. It is important to carefully check your policy documents for any exclusions before choosing a policy, whether for buildings or contents insurance. If you already have a home insurance policy, you can contact your insurer and they will be able to clarify what is included.
Basic building insurance will include coverage for the bricks and mortar in your home, as well as permanent fixtures and fittings such as bathroom and kitchen units. Some building insurance policies cover you as standard for accidental damage, so you may be covered for a cracked sink or broken window caused by home improvement attempts – but it’s important to note that not all policies cover that.
It should be borne in mind that your carpets are covered by contents insurance, so if you only have a building insurance policy, you will not be covered for too common paint spills.
Standard contents insurance (without accidental damage coverage) is unlikely to cover your belongings in the event of a DIY loss. This basic level of coverage will usually only cover your belongings in the event of a fire or theft – so you’re out of luck if you put up a shady shelf and your antiques fall out.
In short, standard home insurance policies without accidental damage coverage are unlikely to cover you for damage from DIY incidents.
DIY and accidental damage coverage
While basic home insurance policies usually don’t cover you in the event of a home improvement loss, accidental damage coverage can be helpful in some situations.
Accidental damage coverage is available in addition to building and property insurance policies, and may come as standard as part of more comprehensive coverage.
While standard policies tend to cover factors such as damage caused by storms, burglaries, water leaks, and fires, accidental damage coverage extends the policy to include damage caused unintentionally by people to the House.
When doing DIY, accidental damage on a building insurance policy could cover damage caused by drilling a pipe or cable, for example. On a contents insurance policy, an accidental damage add-on could cover paint spilled on a carpet or sofa.
As with any insurance policy, accidental damage coverage may have some exclusions, so it’s important to check your policy or speak with your insurer.
Note that accidental damage covers accidents, not major damage like exploding your electrical devices because you tried to do something you were not qualified to do. Some policies may also exclude damage caused by improper workmanship.
You should never attempt any electrical, plumbing, or gas work in your home – only a licensed professional can safely perform this work and issue the proper certificates. You could cause damage, void your coverage and end up responsible for huge costs.
Construction work and home insurance
Generally, minor cosmetic changes like re-decorating will not affect your insurance policy, although you should purchase accidental damage coverage if something goes wrong.
However, if you have major structural work done on your property, you must notify your insurer. Your standard policy is unlikely to cover your property while it is undergoing major renovations, so your insurer may be able to extend coverage, otherwise you may want to consider purchasing a specialized policy.
If you’ve made any major changes that would affect the cost of rebuilding your home, your insurer may need to change your policy to reflect this.