18 September 2015

Covered for that home improvement?

Do-it-yourself home improvements come with the potential for costly mishaps that aren’t covered by house insurance. Before you reach for the toolbox, take some easy steps to safeguard your property’s value and protect your bank balance. 

1. Check your home insurance policy

Find out whether your home insurance policy caters for DIY disasters. It could cover home improvements by insured trades people and exclude property renovations and alterations you do yourself.

“If you’re going to do home improvements, it’s more than likely you won’t be covered by your insurer unless you have accidental damage cover," says Nationwide Product Manager Darren Black. 

"The vast majority of claims related to DIY household maintenance and upgrading projects are accidental damage-related, so it’s important to check with your insurer that you have appropriate home improvement insurance,” he notes.

2. Update your house insurance details

Make sure your policy accurately reflects the current value of your property and that it includes home insurance for DIY.

Buildings insurance premiums are calculated on the structure and layout of your house. Keep your insurer informed of any changes to ensure your policy remains valid and that you are covered when home handiwork goes wrong.

"Sometimes there is a misperception that a home insurance policy is easily modified and that it covers the property regardless of what is done to it," says Black. 

He points out that a home insurance policy is specific to a property and that anything you do that changes the fundamental features of your home should be declared to your insurance provider. 

"Conservatories, for example, count as an extra room. If your house was to burn down and your insurer didn’t know you had a conservatory, it possibly wouldn’t be covered in the rebuild costs," says Black.

3. Make smart home improvements

When it comes to DIY, some simple changes can improve your property and reduce your home insurance premium. 

"Relatively small changes around the house can cut your home insurance premium and improve your lifestyle,” points out Black. These include:

  • Installing new windows
  • Upgrading doors
  • Installing technology that can warn of potential plumbing failures
  • Fitting stronger, high wind-resistant garage doors
  • Replacing the rubber hose on your washing machine with a stainless steel version
  • Installing dead bolts on all exterior doors
  • Upgrading roof tiles
  • Fitting or upgrading smoke alarms

If you are planning a DIY project, want to check you have the right cover or just want to discuss how simple changes to your property could affect your home insurance premium, take a look at our Home insurance pages. It also take less than 10 minutes to get a Home insurance quote

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