Building Guides

Home Insurance and DIY

Many people try and tackle their own home improvements in an attempt to add value to their homes. However; insurers are warning people that over-ambitious DIY projects can actually result in causing more damage that costs a huge amount of money to put right.

Insurance company Zurich have discovered that one-in-six homeowners have had to call out a professional to fix their DIY mistakes after they had tried to save a bit of cash. Zurich’s 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 is 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 will not void your policy. “If you live in a newer home, you should also make sure that any work you carry out, no matter how significant, will not invalidate the building guarantee the property may have.” According to some it’s the fault of home renovation TV shows that fool people into thinking that they can do it themselves as well.

Something always worth remembering is that you will need to inform your insurer of any alterations to your home, no matter how small. This is because even seemingly tiny changes can compromise payouts from your insurer.

One of the biggest and most expensive problems that DIY-ers face is that water damage can prove extremely expensive to put right when the mistake has been made. These problem leaks, usually in the bathroom or kitchen are one of the biggest areas for insurance claims and also one of the most expensive as the average cost is around £2,000.

According to the country’s biggest insurer, Norwich Union; one of the main areas for concern and insurance claims due to failed plumbing jobs. Household underwriter at Norwich Union, Paul Engledow said: “Check the sealant around your bath or shower and inspect the grouting around the tiles, but do not attempt to fix leaky pipes or investigate mysterious wet patches yourself as one wrong move could literally bring the ceiling down. Always call a qualified plumber in to help.”

Most insurance companies cover water damage as standard in your buildings and contents insurance, however; standard household insurance won’t cover the cost of repairing any faulty apparatus or water tanks that have leaked. Something else to bear in mind is that some household policies will not cover you for leaks if you leave your home unoccupied for more than 30 or 60 days at a time. So if you are going on holiday for longer than this, then make sure you contact your insurer to arrange for increased cover.

As long as you always check with your insurer about changes then you will protect yourself from unforeseen costs when embarking on DIY projects. It’s essential that homeowners find out what is covered in their policy and take out extra cover for anything not already included.

Article written by Gill Critchley for Home Insurance team at