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Kitchens and bathrooms head list of UK's top home improvements

24 February 2016

Home improvers warned that major works could invalidate their home insurance

  • A third of homeowners have carried out a home extension or significantly improved their home in the last 5 years;
  • Updating kitchens and bathrooms and investing in energy efficient measures including new boilers, central heating systems and double glazing top the list of improvements;
  • Only 48% of homeowners informed their home insurer about major work they have carried out on their property.

Kitchens are hot property when it comes to updating our homes according to a new survey of the UK's top home improvements released today.  In the last 5 years, a third of homeowners have undertaken a home improvement or extension.  New kitchens, bathrooms and installing energy efficient measures including fitting a new boiler, central heating system or double glazing top the list of work carried out.

But, worryingly, the research, commissioned by Gocompare.com Home Insurance found that 52% of homeowners who had undertaken major works hadn't informed their home insurance provider of the changes they have made - potentially invalidating their home insurance

Top 10 home improvements carried out in the last 5 years

1

Fitted a new kitchen

48%

2

Installed a new bathroom

45%

3

Installed a new boiler or central heating

40%

4

Installed double glazing

30%

5

A garden make-over

29%

6

Built an extension

21%

7

Knocked through rooms

13%

8

Added an extra bedroom

10%

9

Fitted solar panels

9%

10

Created an attic conversion

8%



Commenting on the research, Gocompare.com Home Insurance spokesperson, Ben Wilson, said, "Updating key rooms such as a kitchen or bathroom or extending your home not only makes your home a more appealing place to live, but can increase the value of your property and possessions.  For example, when installing new kitchen units many homeowners also buy new electrical appliances, furniture and other accessories - increasing both the value of their home's rebuilding costs and household contents. 

"If you're thinking about a major renovation project, you should review your home buildings and contents insurance to make sure that you have adequate cover - both during and after the work has been completed.  Before starting the project, discuss your plans with your insurer to make sure they won't invalidate your cover.  For example, if building work involves erecting scaffolding or removing external doors or windows for any length of time, your property will be less secure.  So, to reflect the increased theft risk, your insurer may increase your household insurance premiums while the work is carried out. After completion, you may need to increase your sum insured to reflect any increase in the value of your possessions and the rebuilding costs of your property."

Ben Wilson continued, "If you plan to move out of your home while renovation work is in progress you'll need to be aware of your 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 it won't be covered for certain events including theft, malicious damage and escape of water.

"It's also important to note that the most home insurance policies don't cover tradesmen or their work.  So, in case of any damage to your property or possessions, you should always check that they have their own insurance in place.  It's also sensible to check that any tradesmen you employ are qualified to carry out the work and registered with a recognised governing body."

Gocompare.com Home Insurance has produced a guide on home improvements and insurance

-ENDS-

Notes to editors:

*On 3 February 2016, Bilendi conducted an online survey among 2,004 randomly selected British adults who are Maximiles UK panelists.  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 the United Kingdom.  Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.