Home insurance, DIY and lockdown

Simon Hird

May 20, 2020

Simon Hird is director of broker & intermediary at Legal & General Insurance, part of the LV General Insurance Group

For many people, trying to keep busy during lockdown has meant finally getting around to doing the jobs they may have been putting off in the home. For some, this means cleaning out their wardrobe or sprucing up their garden, whilst for others tackling some ‘Do It Yourself’ (DIY) tasks is top of the agenda.

DIY can often seem like an ideal money-saving solution to fix issues around the home, such as a dripping tap or a broken shelf.

However, homeowners may be unaware of how DIY can have an impact on their insurance policies, so advisers should be taking the time to speak to their clients about their level of cover and whether this is suitable for the type of repair work they are considering taking on.

Be practical and proactive

For advisers, reviewing their fact find and getting in touch with their clients to check in on them and remind them what is covered in their home insurance policy could be a useful place to start, particularly when it comes to making home improvements.

Asking about the type and size of the DIY job a client is planning to undertake will be vital in understanding if the building and contents insurance they have in place is adequate for their needs.

For those planning to make minor improvements to their homes, highlighting the benefits of accidental damage cover may prove valuable to help protect them from those one-off accidents which can happen when tackling DIY tasks, such as a nail through a pipe or spilled paint on a carpet.

If a client is planning on more extensive renovations, advisers should urge their clients to check whether they need to increase their buildings or contents insurance in light of the works they plan to undertake. For more major improvements, some insurers also provide specialist insurance which will cover homeowners if there is an accident or if any expensive equipment or tools are required to be in the house during the renovation period.

However, no matter how big or small the job, advisers should urge their clients to consider whether they have the skills to carry out the job adequately.

Some insurers will have home insurance policies which will include a faulty workmanship exclusion. In this case, any claims made for damage caused by poor workmanship may not be eligible for compensation.

Home is where the heart is

With restrictions on our way of life likely to be in place for some time to come, people’s homes have become more important than ever. So, it is only natural that homeowners would look to improve them while they have more time on their hands.

Advisers should use this opportunity to speak to their clients about their plans for improvement works and ensure clients have the correct cover in place to protect their homes and their valuables from any unfortunate eventualities.

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