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Confused.com : DIY lovers tend to claim on home insurance in case of disaster

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Stiff increases in the cost of living leads to a greater percentage of people doing home improvements on their own. Some of these projects however lead to claims on home insurance when ending in disaster.

A recent study by the Institute of Fiscal Studies warned that households are looking at a 3.8 per cent fall in earnings with data for the first 11 months of 2010-11, marking the largest fall in disposable income since 1981. As a consequence of this strain on income, homeowners in the UK are turning their hand to DIY (Do It Yourself).

Aside from money issues, a Confused.com survey also showed that thirty-nine per cent of Brits claim to have undertaken home improvement work after watching DIY programs; their favourite being Grand Designs (22 per cent).

Homeowners in Scotland and the West Midlands are most likely to do their own home improvements, with 23 per cent claiming to do DIY, compared with the North East where only 11 per cent do DIY.

Fifty per cent of homeowners in Northern Ireland also claimed to have done a successful job, compared with 26 per cent of homeowners in Wales who said their inspirational home improvements looked dreadful and out of this 26% of Welsh homeowners, if money were no object, then 67 per cent would pay someone to do their DIY.

Of all those UK homeowners surveyed, 31 per cent of these budding Kevin McClouds admitted to having DIY mishaps, and of these 31% homeowners, most disasters were taking place in households in Scotland (12 per cent) and Wales (12 per cent) resulting in home insurance claims.

Despite tackling DIY to save money, 6 per cent of Scottish homeowners have paid over £1,000 in the past 24 months rectifying their DIY disasters. A further15 per cent of Scottish homeowners have paid £200 or more in the same period, whereas those living in Northern Ireland paid out over £350 in the last two years to fix botched DIY. In Wales, 13 per cent said they have paid out £300 fixing bad DIY jobs in the last two years.

Mark Gabriel, Confused.com Home Insurance spokesman, says: “with the economy so fragile, people’s finances are under more pressure and things aren’t getting any easier particularly with the rise in petrol prices and food prices. Therefore people have turned to ways of saving money and have been inspired by home improvement programs”.

“However it is important to remember that television often makes tasks look easier than they are. In fact, some home insurance policies stipulate that only professionally accredited tradesmen should carry out certain work, so it is worth checking that you are not inadvertently rendering your insurance invalid by failing to read the small print.”

“It is important to look at your home insurance policy to check that you are fully covered, should things go wrong, and to check their policy details carefully. It is also necessary to take extra safety precautions, as DIY disasters can cause accidents.”

Confused.com is offering a few safety tips to help overzealous home improvers avoid self-inflicted mishaps:

Take your time: Make sure you take your time on a job. We know it’s coming close to Christmas and everyone wants their homes looking nice for the family or unexpected guests, but make sure you plan what you want to do and don’t rush a job as accidents can happen.

Don’t undertake DIY alone: There should always be someone on hand, in case an accident happens.

Be aware of harmful fumes: When painting, or using any material that generates toxic fumes or dust, keep the room well ventilated. Never smoke while painting or standing close to a freshly painted area.

Dress for the occasion: Wear protective clothing including safety goggles, gloves and a dust mask when working with potentially hazardous materials such as glass or spray paint.

Avoid electrifying results: If a job is beyond your capabilities, hire a professional. This is particularly important for any electrical jobs which should only be carried out by a qualified electrician. Also be careful when putting up those Christmas lights

Don’t cave in: Take care not to remove any load-bearing walls – with nothing to support it, a heavy roof could cave in, and cause severe structural damage.

Be safe: Be extremely careful and check that the equipment carries British or European quality marks.If it comes with a safety manual, it is important to read it!

Source : Confused.com