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Home DIY: Do I need to tell my insurer?

Do you have a long list of outstanding home DIY projects you’re about to tackle? It can certainly give a room a new sense of purpose and brighten up your living space. And as a bonus, renovating a room could also boost the value of your home.

But before you start knocking down walls, it’s worth knowing which jobs you should tell your home insurance provider about.

A screwdriver left after some DIY


Is DIY covered on standard home insurance?

A standard home insurance policy usually doesn't cover you if something goes wrong with a DIY project.

Unless you have accidental damage included in your policy, you may be left having to cover the costs of a botched DIY job yourself. Accidental damage cover is an extra you need to pay for.

But all policies vary so it might be the case that your insurer pays out in certain circumstances - such as if you drill through a water pipe.

You could also be covered under home emergency cover, if you have this.

If you’re looking to buy a new insurance policy, always check the levels of cover, especially if you’re about to undergo a new DIY project.

If you have a policy you’re happy with, contact your insurer to check what you’re covered for. If you don’t have accidental damage you might be able to pay a little extra to have this added to the policy. This could be a lot cheaper than having to pay for repairs yourself if something goes wrong.


Do I need to tell my home insurance about building work?

Your insurer needs to know if you’re doing any substantial building work, or work that affects the value of your home.

Any builders coming into your home may have their own cover, but it’s important to consider your home insurance policy during building work.

It might be the case you need extra cover because you have builders coming in and out of your home for an extended period of time. A call to your insurer should give you all the details you need.

When it comes to kitchen or bathroom refits, it depends on the size of the job.

If it’s going to involve a fair amount of building work, it’s best to lets your insurer know, but standard refits should be fine.

Insurers especially want to know about any work that could damage valuables or compromise your home security.

If in doubt, speak to your home insurance provider. Policies vary so it’s always worth checking.

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Why do I need to tell my insurer?

Altering the structure of your home could affect your insurance because the property won’t be the same as the one you initially insured.

Your insurer might re-evaluate your insurance needs and it could result in higher home insurance costs.

But that’s arguably less painful than finding out later on that you’ve invalidated your cover. If the DIY work is making your home more secure, installing a security system or better locks for example, this may also result in a cheaper insurance costs.

Your insurer could charge you an admin fee for changing your policy. This fee is to reflect any extra work it has to do, such as re-evaluating your risk and creating a new policy.


What jobs do I need to tell my insurer about?

You need to tell your insurer if you plan on making any changes to the structure of your home. This includes:

  • Extending a room
  • Adding a conservatory
  • Doing a loft conversion
  • Replacing a roof
  • Installing double-glazing
  • Adding a porch
  • Adding a summerhouse
  • Adding a pool

What jobs don’t I need to let my insurer know about?

You don’t need to let your insurer know about any basic home DIY jobs that are considered cosmetic. This includes:

  • Replacing your carpets
  • Putting up shelves
  • Re-tiling a bathroom
  • Wallpapering
  • Painting
  • Anything cosmetic in the garden, such as paving, general gardening and even putting up a shed.

Will my insurance cover me for a botched home DIY job?

In some instances, yes.

Genuine mishaps such as putting your foot through the ceiling or bursting a water pipe while putting up a picture should be covered under accidental damage. But this cover isn’t always automatically included - you may need to pay extra for it.

Although you can't guarantee you're definitely covered in these circumstances. Make sure you always stick to jobs you’re qualified to do. Unfortunately, watching 10 YouTube tutorials on unblocking a drain doesn’t make you a plumber.

So if you have a go and something goes drastically wrong, your insurer might not pay out. As always, check your policy wording.

If in doubt, hire a tradesperson with liability insurance to help you with the job.


Other ways to protect my home during DIY/building work

Doing building work and renovations is a great way to improve the value of your home. But you should be careful of any damage that occurs as your buildings insurance may not always be willing to pay out.

Here are a few simple ways you can protect yourself and your home beyond buildings insurance:

  • Consider contents insurance. It doesn't protect your building but does protect your personal possessions. For example, if they were to be damaged or go missing while building works are carried out.
  • Add legal cover. Consider adding legal protection to your home insurance policy if you plan on making big structural changes. Even if you've made your neighbours aware of work going on in your home, you could still end up getting into civil disputes that need to be settled in court.
  • Ensure your builder has insurance. Make sure your builder has their own liability insurance. This is important as it can cover any resulting damages, including any damage to your neighbours' properties.