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The UK's top ten home improvements revealed

22 July 2013

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

Installing a new kitchen is the most popular home renovation carried out in the last three years and the top improvement planned for the future as well, new research reveals today. But 43% of homeowners who undertook major home improvements in the last three years didn't inform their home insurance provider of the changes they had made - potentially invalidating their home insurance.
 
The home improvement research, commissioned by comparison website Gocompare.com, found that the top 10 renovation projects include; updating kitchens and bathrooms, building an extension, and garden makeovers: 

Top 10 home improvements

Carried out in last three years

Planned improvements in the next three years

New kitchen

42%

34%

New bathroom

41%

29%

New boiler or central heating

31%

15%

Extension

18%

30%

Garden makeover

17%

20%

Knock through rooms

11%

8%

Install solar panels

8%

8%

Attic conversion

6%

11%

Add an extra bedroom

4%

7%

Cellar conversion

2%

4%



Gocompare.com's home insurance spokesperson, Mark Greening, commented: "Undertaking a home renovation or extension not only helps to improve or increase your living space, but can add to the value of your property and your fixtures and fittings.  For example, new kitchen cabinets and worktops are usually installed around a new cooker and other domestic appliances - increasing both the value of the property's rebuilding costs and household contents.  So, whether you are planning an extension, installing a new kitchen or other major renovation, you should consult your home insurer before you start work so that you can review your sum insured and make sure your plans don't invalidate your cover."
 
Mark Greening explained: "Buildings insurance covers the cost of damage to the structure of your home, including permanent fixtures and fittings such as built-in kitchens and bathroom suites, from unforeseen events such as fire or theft.  Premiums are partly based on the cost of rebuilding the structure of your property, so your insurer will want to know about any renovations which affect the value of your home.  In addition to thinking about the aesthetics of your renovation, you should consider whether you can improve your home's security.  Most insurers offer discounts for properties fitted with good quality door and window locks and burglar alarms.
 
"When updating your home, it's likely that you'll invest in new furniture and furnishings, potentially increasing the value of your household contents, so you should speak to your insurer to make sure that you have adequate cover for your new possessions."
 
Mark Greening continued, "If you are planning extensive renovations and are thinking of moving out while the work is in progress, you need to be aware of your insurer's rules regarding unoccupied properties.  Most household insurance 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 is no standard definition of ‘occupied' and the time period on some policies is as short as 14 days, so if you plan to move out during refurbishment works, then it is essential that you talk to your insurer to make sure you understand the implications.
 
"If you are employing tradesmen to undertake the work for you, check that they are qualified to carry out the work and registered with a recognised governing body. Most home insurance policies do not cover tradesmen or their work, so you should also check that they have their own insurance in place."

- ends -

Notes to editors:

On 10th - 12th June 2013, Vision Critical conducted an online survey among 2,004 randomly selected British adults who are Springboard UK panellists. 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 310 home insurance policies (14 June 2013)