Home Insurance

19 million Brits may suffer DIY disasters this weekend

21 May 2009

Over a third of Brits (38%) are spending more time at home doing DIY this bank holiday, says new research from AA Insurance. But one in ten are in for a shock, as their amateur DIY projects will go wrong, which could end up costing up over £100 to rectify.

With the bank holiday a peak time for making home improvements, AA Insurance warns that those turning their hands to a spot of DIY can create more problems for themselves than they bargained for.

Simon Douglas of AA Insurance comments: "We always see an increase in claims for DIY disasters after bank holiday weekends. But less than half of home contents policyholders have an Accidental Damage extension, which means that many claims wouldn't be met. Budding DIY-ers should check their cover before they get that tool box out. If necessary, accidental damage can be added to your policy."

Mr Douglas points out that accidental damage is the largest single category of home insurance claim and 'escape of water' is one of the worst culprits. "Plumbing accidents such as drilling through a hidden pipe or damaging a tap and flooding the home seem to be common".

Other frequent claims include:

  • new shelves falling off the wall
  • flat pack furniture collapsing
  • paint or plaster dropped on carpets
  • smashed glass
  • the electrics being fused because a wire has been inadvertently cut through

With 38% of people attempting to fix their accidental damages themselves, these are certainly some of the issues that may be faced this weekend.

The research also found that women are the keenest new DIY-ers, with 42% saying that DIY jobs such as decorating and gardening fill their time, compared to 29% of men.

AA advice for DIY-ers

  • Get advice before you start – most DIY centres offer helpful leaflets on common projects
  • Get expert help if you are planning changes to wiring or plumbing – it is illegal for an unqualified person to undertake work on electrical wiring or gas installations
  • Check for hidden pipe or wire runs behind walls – DIY shops sell inexpensive detectors to identify where they are
  • Check and re-check your measurements before committing yourself with saw or drill
  • If you are fitting shelves or other items to walls, ensure that the fixing is suitable. Use the proper screw plugs if it is plasterboard: conventional screw plugs will come out as soon as weight is put on them
  • Follow instructions carefully if you are assembling flat-pack furniture: have a 'dry run' first
  • Make sure that tools such as drills, chisels and saws you use are in good condition and sharp. – but keep them out of the way of children and pets
  • Play safe: Avoid breathing in dust or damaging your eyes – wear a mask and goggles
  • Ensure you move or cover furniture and carpets when painting; ensure there is good ventilation
  • Don't put yourself at risk of accidents – make sure your step ladder is firm!
  • Keep a first-aid kit readily available
  • Check your home insurance and get an accidental damage extension if necessary

Join the discussion in the AA zone


21 May 2009
Research was undertaken with 72 point on 6-8 April 2009. 2,000 respondents were questioned.