Common DIY downfalls

5 minutes

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Have you been thinking about how to make home improvements this year? If it’s time to embark on a renovation project, then ensuring you have insurance to cover you in case of mishaps is a great place to start.

Many people wouldn’t even consider home improvement insurance and think their current contents and buildings insurance will be enough, but this isn’t necessarily the case.

Using claims data, we’ve highlighted some of the most problematic areas for DIY-ers to help you try and avoid an expensive disaster. Follow our DIY tips and tricks to learn the DIY downfalls to avoid when you take on an improvements project.


It’s best to contact your insurer if you’re unclear about what you’ll be covered for before starting anything.

Do I need renovation insurance?

Depending on the scale of work and what your current home insurance policy covers in terms of accidental damage, you may want to consider taking out home improvements or renovation insurance.

It’s best to contact your insurer if you’re unclear about what you’ll be covered for before starting anything. Even something simple like putting up a shelf could result in an expensive repair if you’re not doing it properly and find it’s not covered by your home insurance.

Don’t make a start without being prepared

Making sure you have the correct renovation insurance cover for your work is the perfect start to being prepared for your home remodelling project. But that isn’t where preparation for DIY ends as there will usually be a long list of supplies and tools you need to complete the task.

Research what you need before starting and make sure you’re fully prepared to start your exciting project without having to cut corners or “make do” with a substandard tool.


Adding a fresh lick of paint to a wall may seem like a simple task but it’s actually where most claims come from.

Take care when adding a lick of paint

Adding a fresh lick of paint to a wall may seem like a simple task but it’s actually where most claims come from. In 2018 there were nearly 400 claims for spillages of liquids such as paint, varnish and cleaning products, costing a total of £290,000.

It can be tempting to buy the paint, whip out your paintbrush and get cracking but you need to properly prepare the area. Remove or cover furniture that could get damaged and ensure the floor is well protected.

To make sure you have a long-lasting finish, prepare your surfaces too. Clean the walls, sand them down, patch up any holes and apply a coat of primer.

Protect fixed glass

The second-most common claim is accidental damage to fixed glass while mowing the lawn. There were 93 claims for this in 2018, with a total cost of £46,000. And it’s not only while you’re using your lawnmower that accidents can happen.

If you’re going to be wielding tools near glass in your house, be mindful and take extra care. Of course, if you can protect the glass in some way then it’s best to do so.

Watch out for pipes

Escape of water is another DIY pitfall. Fixed pipes bursting because they’re hit by nails or screws was the third-most common DIY issue, with 37 claims in 2018 at a total cost of £79,000.

If you’re looking to hang mirrors or artwork, or even if you need to pop up some new shelving, use a wire and pipe detector.

This is especially useful in kitchens and bathrooms. Remember to check you have the right level of bathroom and kitchen plan insurance for your project on your home policy before you get started.


Thinking of freshening up your home with DIY? Many people don’t know that even simple projects could invalidate your home insurance.

Don’t neglect your garden

As the weather improves, you’ll probably want to get out in the garden or carry out DIY with the doors and windows open. Getting your garden ready for the warmer weather is a great task for spring that can have a massive impact on your home.

Freshen up your soil and add some mulch to feed the soil and plants. In terms of your lawn, make sure the blades of your mower are sharp and be careful of the environment around you.

However, people can often be a bit more laid back when it comes to renovating their garden. You might want to check that your home insurance policy includes damage to outdoor buildings like greenhouses or sheds.

Do I need planning permission?

If you’re not planning to add an extension, you should be safe without planning permission. As with many things though, there are exceptions to the rule and it’s always best to do your research before embarking on any big project. 

If your project is purely internal, you won’t need planning permission. Almost all works inside a home such as loft or garage conversions, new staircases, bathrooms, kitchens, or rewiring, do not require permission.

However, if you’re in a listed property or within a conservation area, the rules are different, and you’ll need to check with your local planning authority (LPA). 

If you’re thinking of doing any garden maintenance involving your fences, gates and walls then you’ll need to check where you stand.

Planning permission is necessary if they’re next to a road and over one metre high, or over two metres high when they’re not next to a road. 

Whatever improvements you decide on, mistakes can happen. Safeguard yourself and your home from the hazards of DIY with home improvement or renovation insurance.

Before you embark on any DIY, check your LV= home insurance will cover your plans and has an appropriate level of cover for accidental damage. When you know you’re covered, you can roll up your sleeves and pick up your paint pot!

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All content is approved by our in-house advisory board of experts.