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How to tackle DIY and reduce the risks

At a glance

  • In 2018 the UK ‘Do It Yourself’ (DIY) market was estimated to be worth a staggering £14bn
  • With many people choosing to tackle tasks in the home themselves what can be done to reduce risks to people, property and insurance cover?
  • From knowing when to bring in a professional to checking your home cover we share tips to help your customers set out on DIY tasks with less risk.

This article counts towards accumulating your annual CII CPD structured learning hours for Emerging Risks.

By reading this article, and correctly answering the three questions underneath, you will have achieved the following learning outcome: Identify the insurance implications of different emerging risks.

According to the Insight Retail Group, the United Kingdom’s Do It Yourself (DIY) market was worth approximately £14bn per annum in 2018. With people across the country tackling tasks within the home we look at some tips for what could be done to make sure that people and properties are not being put at unnecessary risk.

  1. Know the limits

A recent survey revealed that 58% of British people would attempt home maintenance tasks themselves or with help from friends and family. There are several tasks that can be completed to a high standard without an expert, however it is important to know the limits of what can be achieved. There are occasions when it is important, or safer, to hire a registered professional. For example jobs involving plumbing, electrics and gas often require certification and using a qualified tradesperson can reduce the risk of harm both to an individual and their property and unintentionally voiding home insurance.

Contrary to what some may think, actually hiring a professional could turn out to be more cost and time efficient. With costs of DIY including tools, clean up and also the potential for time to be taken off work, it is often not as cheap or quick as some may think.

Before committing to starting work with someone, it is recommended to gather more than one quote for comparison, and also ask around for recommendations or check online for approved tradespeople.

  1. Plan properly

If the task is to be done manually and not by a professional, it is important that time is taken to properly prepare for the work and to not start before plans are in place. Things such as equipment, supplies and tools needed to complete the job should be set out beforehand to avoid mid-task shopping trips and potentially leaving jobs half-done for a period of time. In doing so, costs should always be calculated to ensure there is an awareness of the full project, and that time is allocated to make sure that the work is completed.

In addition to planning the project ahead, it is also important to plan a step-by-step approach to finishing the work. In doing so, just as following instructions, it should reduce the risk of making a mistake. Thoroughly read any instructions, seek expert advice where needed and consider studying online advice and videos from reputable sources to ensure full preparation for the job at hand.

  1. Stay safe

DIY will more often than not involve using tools or chemicals. It is essential to be familiar with the tools needed and how to use them safely, especially in the case of power tools. As well as familiarisation with tools, having and using the right protective gear could be the difference between a minor or serious injury. It is also best to not undertake DIY projects when unaccompanied, however unlikely they may be it is important to consider that accidents happen and having someone nearby to help or to administer first aid could be lifesaving.

As well as protecting an individual or individuals, there are actions that should be taken to keep property and belongings safe during DIY tasks. Where possible, clear items away to avoid them being damaged and cover or protect larger items of furniture or flooring before beginning. As well as knowing how to use tools properly an understanding of the house structure, such as checking the position of electrical wires or pipes, is essential and could save significant damage from being done.

  1. Check what cover is in place

It may often be forgotten but checking home insurance cover before beginning is invaluable as the work could impact a policy.

Potentially, embarking on extreme renovations could void home insurance if they are not properly reported or if contents are being added that might not be covered, such as a more expensive kitchen or bathroom. There is also a risk of accidental damage to the property or contents which may or may not be covered.

Brokers should ensure that their customers make them aware before any renovations or work are done. Checking a policy will reduce the chances of being caught out and the potential to be footing a bill for thousands of pounds of damage.

Image © Getty

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