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DIY warning as insurer reveals trends in home improvement accidents

Can we fix it? No we can’t! Data reveals one in three Brits have experienced a DIY mishap

Woman doing DIY in the Kitchen
  • DIY claims have spiked by 13% in the last year, with decorating accidents accounting for three in every four DIY related claims
  • The average cost of a DIY related claim was over £800 and accidents range from a dog that knocked over 12 litres of paint to drilling through a water pipe
  • Almost two thirds admit they don’t have the skills to attempt DIY
  • 60% choose DIY over calling a pro as they think it’s cheaper, but are unaware they could be putting their homes – and themselves – at risk of damage
  • Inspired by Admiral’s data, lifestyle influencer, Em Sheldon, has shared her tips and considerations for those undertaking DIY at home

Ahead of spring – or self-assembly season – Admiral Home Insurance has revealed the most common DIY mishaps and produced advice and tips so Brits can ensure they are keeping themselves safe in the process.  

Admiral looked at claims data from the last three years which reveals that claims for DIY disasters increased by 13% in the last year – and the average cost for DIY claims in that period was over £800. Additionally, new consumer research by the insurer reveals that almost two thirds of Brits (63%) admit they don’t have the skills to attempt DIY, while just 18% believe they are good at it.

Admiral’s claims data shows that decorating has led to the most mishaps for those doing their DIY. Accidents while decorating accounted for three in every four DIY related claims. Despite this, Brits remain confident in their decorating ability, as 56% of survey respondents claimed they could decorate, unaided3.

Don’t have a go, call a pro:

Although many renovation projects can be undertaken yourself with the right skills and tools, Admiral encourages Brits to consider whether it’s best to leave some jobs to the professionals.

Despite six in ten adults (60%) attempting DIY themselves as they consider it to be cheaper than hiring a professional, home insurance claims reveal that those who are not fully prepared to undergo work at home got themselves into all kinds of blunders. Claims for DIY accidents varied from the family dog knocking paint over the carpet, to ladders flying through windows, to drilling through a water pipe. Some DIY mishaps haven’t just resulted in damaged property, 7% of respondents said they have injured themselves while doing DIY, with some requiring medical attention.

Worryingly, Admiral’s research also revealed that some home improvement and maintenance jobs that should only be carried out by a professional may be attempted by homeowners unaware of regulations, putting themselves and others at risk.

When asked if certain tasks needed a professional or could be done by themselves, 18% thought it would be ok to attempt re-wiring electrical work themselves, something that needs expert approval.

Meanwhile, 11% of people thought they could install or repair a gas device themselves or after doing an online tutorial, a job that needs to be undertaken by a certified professional.

Top 3: DIY tasks resulting in a home insurance claim


DIY activity

% of DIY related claims caused by task








Putting up fixtures & fittings


Many homeowners are unaware of a link between keeping their property in good working order and the potential impact on their home insurance with one in ten believing that maintenance and insurance were unconnected, and only a third (36%) accurately saying that not completing regular home maintenance tasks could affect a claim.

Like most insurers, Admiral requires that its customers maintain their property in a good state of repair. Failing to do so could affect any claims they want to make as a result.

Noel Summerfield, head of home insurance at Admiral, said:

“While many will be filled with confidence when it comes to jobs like painting and decorating, they could be misguided and still need to take care. Three quarters of DIY related home insurance claims we’ve received in the last three years were as a result of decorating mishaps.

“Others are finding that DIY mishaps result in an injury, requiring first aid and even resulting in a trip to the hospital. It’s concerning that some tasks like electrical work and gas appliance installation are being mistaken for jobs suitable to DIY.

“We recommend making a monthly and seasonal to-do list to keep on top of home maintenance and make sure there are no hidden problems. In spring, this could include clearing the gutters and checking the roof. This will lessen the chance of long-term issues and invalidating your home insurance.

“We’d also recommend homeowners check the legal requirements and that they are capable before embarking on DIY, calling in a professional where they don’t have the skills and reading up on tips and advice if attempting a job themselves to minimise the risk of a disaster, such as Admiral’s How To YouTube series of home maintenance improvements. That way they can ensure their home is left looking like a palace.”

"To help homeowners avoid falling behind with home maintenance tasks that could later impact on their insurance and to help them identify jobs where a qualified professional is essential, Admiral has created a new tool. Users can quickly identify whether a range of tasks around the home are up to date or overdue and get an indication of costs for the tools needed to DIY the job or an estimated cost to call in a professional."

For those fancying their chance at DIY, lifestyle influencer Em Sheldon (@emshelx) has also shared her top tips and considerations before beginning your home project:

“It’s super exciting to own a home, to start the DIY journey and put your own creative mark on something that is such a big milestone.  Safe to say it’s a transformative adventure where mistakes bring lessons, tears, lots of fun and newfound skills. Here are my DIY tips based on my experience to date: 

  • Research thoroughly. Google is your best friend - gather as much information from credible sources or those with experience on the process of doing something, tools and correct materials to do the job. I did a poor job spray painting some outdoor storage because I thought I knew what to do and rushed it.  There is always so much more to these things than you think, we just see the pretty result! I did a much better job when it came to painting panelling in my bedroom because I planned, research and prepped properly. 
  • Never skip safety precautions. Wear protective clothing and when using tools and equipment, always follow safety instructions. 
  • Start with small projects. Personally, I’ve stuck to small ones because I don’t have the confidence for larger ones, but if you’re new to DIY and confident enough to tackle larger projects, I still think it’s best to practice first on the smaller ones. 
  • Never ever underestimate time and budget. My first owned property has been an eye opener - the process and length of time it takes to do a job properly and the cost of buying the right equipment has come as a shock to me. Plan every detail carefully and truly understand your costs. 
  • Always, and I mean always, measure once, twice and a third time. Measure every dimension too. I cannot stress this enough. Even though we had bathroom experts in, we had a nightmare getting our new bath down our Victorian corridor and I wish we would have measured ourselves rather than just expressing a concern about it at the time - that way we would have known that the bath we originally chose would not fit. We also had to turn a sofa away and choose a different design because we had underestimated the size in relation to the Victorian corridor. Please measure everything. 
  • Don’t underestimate the amount of waste disposal you will need to do. Also cost in either time for a skip, rubbish collection or trips to the tip. Rubbish soon mounts up and can get you down. Please follow regulations for recycling and waste management. 

"Finally, don’t get disheartened if ultimately you try a DIY task and you don’t find the joy in it you thought you would. There’s nothing wrong with turning to an expert and doing so could be more cost effective than having to correct a DIY job gone wrong.”