Bodgers beware: DIY disasters could cost you thousands AND and lower the value of your home
- The annual cost of DIY disasters is £7bn, according to research by Aviva
- Nearly a third of households ended up paying for a professional after a DIY fail
- One in ten has run up a bill of more than £2,000 fixing bodged jobs
- Some DIY jobs may lower the value of your home by tens of thousands of pounds
If you have tried your hand at DIY while stuck at home during lockdown, you are certainly not alone.
But insurer Aviva is urging people to ‘proceed with caution’ after revealing that the annual cost of DIY disasters is £7billion.
Its research shows that almost a third of households have ended up paying for a professional when DIY tasks have failed – while one in ten has run up a bill of more than £2,000 fixing bodged jobs.
Sarah Applegate, head of global strategy and insights at Aviva, says: ‘Many people have been tempted to turn their attention to tackling those niggly odd jobs around the house.
Beware of accidentally drilling holes through pipes or electrical cables, experts warn
‘But we would advise people to work within their limits and not attempt tasks which could be better left to professionals – particularly if they involve electricity, gas or plumbing.’
DIY mishaps can be as simple as a water leak when changing a radiator or spilling paint on carpet.
But other, more catastrophic DIY disasters include being electrocuted after cutting through electrical wires, falling through a ceiling or roof or causing a fire when carrying out electrical work.
Adrienne Minster, chief executive of trade recommendation service Rated People, says: ‘A lot of people would like to think they are handy with a hammer, but with plaster falling at your feet or worse, it’s easy to find yourself in a sticky situation.’
Alastair Bell, claims expert at insurer More Than, says many claims he sees relate to ‘accidentally drilling holes through pipes or electrical cables in the wall, as well as lost or damaged wedding rings’.
He says: ‘To avoid accidents, it’s important not to rush into a job and to plan for every eventuality.
‘Simple steps include using a device to check for cables or pipes behind walls before drilling and putting jewellery somewhere safe while performing tasks.’
DIY bodges can also affect a property’s value.
While many home-owners believe sprucing up their property will increase its value, home furnishings retailer ScS warns that some DIY jobs lower the value by tens of thousands of pounds.
Converting or removing a bedroom can make a property less attractive to buyers and potentially knock 20 per cent off the value.
With the average UK house worth £232,000, this can equate to a loss of £46,000.
Garage conversions can also shave around £16,000 (seven per cent) off an average property’s value, while building an extension without the necessary planning permission can reduce a home’s value by 15 per cent, or around £35,000.
Holly Herbert, head of content at website webuyanyhouse, says: ‘Any extensions built without planning permission might have to be torn down, putting you at a huge loss, and decreasing your house value.’
Before taking on any DIY task, homeowners are encouraged to check their home insurance policy includes accidental damage cover. If not, adding this could be money well spent.
Be warned though – insurers may reject a claim if plumbing or electrical work has been carried out by someone unqualified.
Homeowners undertaking more extensive home renovations should inform their insurance provider in advance. This is in case cover needs to be increased. Crucially, too, tenants should speak to their landlord before carrying out any type of DIY.
Useful tips before you open your toolbox
● Only tackle the jobs you are qualified for – if it requires expert knowledge, contact a professional.
● When looking for a tradesperson, use an online directory service such as Checkatrade or Rated People. Always get at least three quotes and check any reviews given.
● Do your research before you begin any task and check online videos for tips.
● Use a pipe and wire detector before using a drill or hammer.
● Tidy up as you go to avoid tripping over tools and toolboxes as you work.
● Clear away any expensive high-tech items such as laptops, tablets and phones to prevent damaging them.
● Try to keep pets and children out of any work-zone.
● Always read instructions carefully before using tools you have borrowed or recently purchased.
● If you are carrying out a job that involves water, electricity or gas, ensure you turn these utilities off before you begin the work.
● Use dust sheets to cover carpets, soft furnishings and appliances before painting.
● Start work early in the day so you have time to carry out repairs if something goes wrong.
● If you’re not sure whether your DIY project will be covered under your home insurance, check with the firm first.