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The UK’s most popular home improvements: New bathrooms and kitchens top the list

04 March 2015

Comparison site warns those ‘improving instead of moving’ to take care not to accidently invalidate their home insurance

Fitting a new bathroom heads the list of the UK’s most popular home renovations according to a new survey released today. 44% of homeowners who carried out a major home improvement in the last three years fitted a new bathroom, while 39% opted for a new kitchen and a third of homeowners modernised their boiler or central heating system.

But nearly half (49%) of homeowners who undertook major home improvements admit they haven’t informed their home insurance provider of the changes they have made – potentially invalidating their home insurance.

The home improvement research, commissioned by Gocompare.com Home Insurance, found that the top 10 renovation projects also included; garden makeovers, building an extension and doing a cellar conversion: 

Top 10 home improvements carried out in the last 3 years

1

Fitted a new bathroom

44%

2

Installed a new kitchen

39%

3

Fitted a new boiler or central heating system

33%

4

A garden makeover

28%

5

Built an extension

16%

6

Knocked through rooms

11%

7

Fitted solar panels

11%

8

An attic conversion

10%

9

Added an extra bedroom

7%

10

A cellar conversion

6%



The survey also found:

  • 22% of homeowners are extending/improving with a view to staying in their property for at least 3 years;
  • 13% of homeowners are not extending/improving but hope to move in the next 3 years;
  • 5% of homeowners are extending/improving with a view to selling their property in the next 3 years.

Gocompare.com Home Insurance’s spokesperson, Ben Wilson, commented: “As well as making your home a nicer place to live, a major renovation project can add to the value of your property and household contents.  For example, when modernising a kitchen with new cabinets and worktops, many people will also buy a new cooker, fridge freezer or other appliances and furniture – increasing both the value of their property’s rebuilding costs and household contents.  So, you’ll need to review your insurance to make sure that you’ve got adequate cover for your new investment.

“Also, if your renovation involves scaffolding or removing doors or windows for any length of time, your property will be less secure, so your insurer may increase your premiums to reflect the increased risk, while the work is being carried out.”

Ben added: “If you’re planning extensive renovations and are thinking of moving out while the work is in progress, you’ll need to be aware of your home insurer’s rules regarding unoccupied properties.  Most policies stipulate that if you leave your home unoccupied for a period of time, typically exceeding 30 or 60 days*, then your property will not be covered for certain events including theft, malicious damage and escape of water. There’s no standard definition of ‘occupied’, so, if you’re planning to live elsewhere during refurbishment works, it’s essential that you talk to your insurer first - to make sure you understand the implications.

“Most home insurance policies don’t cover tradesmen or their work, so you should always check that they have their own insurance in place.  It’s also wise to check that they are qualified to carry out the work and registered with a recognised governing body.”

For more information, Gocompare.com has produced a guide on home improvements.

-ends-

Notes to editors:

On 20th to the 21st of February 2015, Vision Critical conducted an online survey among 1232 randomly selected British adults who are Springboard UK panellists and homeowners.  The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

*Source: Defaqto Matrix of 346 home contents insurance policies (24 February 2015)