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DIY and home insurance

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Thinking of making some improvements to your home? Well, according to a recent AA Home Insurance over half of you already are. In fact, 50% of homeowners have been adding value to their properties through renovation and improvement projects over the last two years; a marked increase in activity since 2012 when just over 10% cited DIY projects as a means of lifting negative equity.

So, where does home insurance come into play? Whether you’re tackling the job yourself or employing a handyman to do so, it’s important to make sure you have suitable home insurance cover.

It’s a good idea to consult your home insurance provider ahead of time so they're aware of the work being carried out. For example, if you’re increasing the square footage of your home know that this can impact your rebuild costs. Whether it's through an extension or adding an extra bedroom, this type of work affects the structure of the property and could mean that additional buildings cover is required.

If you’re carrying out the work yourself, it’s a good idea to pay particular attention to certain aspects of your cover:

Accidental Damage Cover
Most home insurance policies will offer some level of this cover but will typically only extend to cables and underground services, e.g. pipes and heating systems, however an excess usually applies. Before the renovations begin, consider taking out additional accidental damage cover and be sure to check the terms and conditions.

Home Emergency Response
Some companies will help cover the cost of getting a tradesperson in to fix that burst pipe or dodgy roof. Generally, though, a hefty call-out fee or excess can be applied so make sure you’re not getting a raw deal. AA Home Membership covers you for the likes of boiler breakdowns, electricity failures and roof damage without a call-out fee or an excess. We cover the costs of parts and labour too, totalling up to €2,000 per call out 4 times a year. You may never need to call a tradesperson again!

We’re well aware, however, that DIY projects can go horrendously wrong. So while the costs of employing a professional can be initally high, homeowners usually come out with a superior deal: better contacts with suppliers can mean reduced cost materials, as well as more knowledge of the task at hand.

Scouting for a reputable tradesperson can be a job in itself, though. We recommend checking out previous work carried out for past clients, along with confriming they have the correct insurance. Tradespeople coming into your property should have employer’s liability insurance before carrying out any work, meaning that if anyone is injured whilst working there will be cover in place.

AA Home Insurance tips on landing a trustworthy tradesperson:

  • Look for word of mouth recommendations from friends and family
  • Check with previous customers and ask for references
  • Search for reviews about them online
  • Ask to see a copy of their training certificates
  • Confirm they have their own insurance in place prior to commencement of work
  • Check if your local residents' association has a list of pre-approved providers
  • Ensure that a contract is signed by both you and the contractor, detailing the length of time it will take to complete the project and the total cost
  • Know your rights; you are protected by the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980
  • Check if they are a member of the appropriate regulatory bodies for example R.G.I.I. for Gas Installers and the E.C.S.S.A. for electricians

Hi jargon buster

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