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Co-op Insurance reveals homeowners top DIY disasters – worth a staggering £3.4bn

6 March 2017

  • DIY disasters cost us an average of £2,271 - the equivalent of more than £3.4billion across the UK
  • The most common mistake for over a third (36%) of Brits is underestimating the time or cost of the project
  • London (18%), Northern Ireland (14%) and the North West (10%) all come in the top three regions where the most DIY disasters occur
  • 1 in 7 (14%) young adults admit to botching a job, whilst the more experienced over 55’s are better versed (6%)
  • Women more likely than men to have had a DIY disaster: 10% of them compared to 8% of men.

As the home buying season begins to pick up and people look to don the overalls and take on some home improvements, new research from Co-op Insurance reveals that 1.5 million* homeowners in Britain have experienced a DIY disaster, with botched jobs costing us on average £2,271 - the equivalent of more than £3.4billion across the UK.

Even the best-laid refurbishment plans can go awry, with most people often biting off more than they can chew. The most common mistake for over a third (36%) of Brits is underestimating the time or cost of the project they are attempting, whilst bursting a water pipe, perhaps by accidently drilling in to it, is also fairly common for 1 in 3 Brits (34%).

Other disasters include a simple paint job leaving people crying over ‘spilt paint’ on the carpet, for over a quarter (28%) of Brits, whilst causing plaster damage to a wall from putting a shelf up has caused nearly 1 in 5 Brits (19%) a headache.

Top 12 DIY disasters

1 One simple job led to another, more expensive job 36%
2 Burst water pipe 34%
3 Spilled paint on carpet/floors 31%
4 Plaster damage from putting a shelf up 19%
5 Personal injury 18%
6= Drilled into electrical wire 13%
Drilled into a gas pipe 13%
8= Fell through the ceiling 10%
Made a hole in my roof 10%
10 Window fell out when I was fitting it 9%
11 Measured carpets wrong, didn't fit the room 8%
12 Caused structural damage 7%

It seems there isn’t a North/South divide when it comes to botching jobs, as London (18%), Northern Ireland (14%) and the North West (10%) all come in the top three regions where the most DIY disasters take place. However those in the East of the country were the least likely to have a mishap.

The most expensive bodged jobs took place in the North West, with the average cost to repair the damage coming in at £4,522.92, whilst the North East has the least expensive repairs at only £150.

UK DIY disaster hotspots

Region% who've had a DIY disasterAverage cost of disaster
London 18.31% £2,633.38
Northern Ireland 14.29% £235.00
North West 10.08% £4,522.92
West Midlands 9.52% £2,971.88
North East 9.38% £150.00
South East 8.89% £2,248.00
East Midlands 7.50% £578.17
Wales 6.38% £293.33
Yorkshire & The Humber 6.25% £353.33
South West 5.88% £261.00
Scotland 5.00% £643.75
East/East Anglia 3.80% £291.67

The study has found that those aged between 25-30 years old seem far less able to tackle DIY tasks, with 1 in 7 (14%) young adults admitting to botching a job, whilst the more experienced over 55’s were well versed in how to perform home improvements, as they were the least likely to have a mishap (6%). Women are more likely than men to have had a DIY disaster: 10% of them compared to 8% of men.

Worryingly of those that have experienced DIY disasters in the home, nearly half of Brits (47%) didn’t have the correct insurance cover in place before they went happy with the hammer.

Following these DIY mishaps, 40% of people are likely to call in a professional builder or handyman on all future jobs that may need to be carried out on their property.

Caroline Hunter, Head of Home Insurance at Co-op, said: “Brits are well-known for their love affair with DIY, however our findings show that we are not always successful. Enthusiasm is brilliant but this needs to be balanced with ability, as what seems like a simple task can often lead to a much more expensive job. It is therefore important to approach DIY with not only common sense, but also knowledge and preparation, to try to ensure accidents don’t happen.

“Before you reach for the paintbrush or toolbox, we strongly recommend checking the level of cover you currently have in place with your insurance provider, as you may find you’re not covered for any DIY mishaps you encounter.

“Accidental damage may cover disasters such as spilt paint on carpets or burst water pipes, however more extensive home improvement projects, such as changes to the buildings structure might invalidate your home insurance policy, if it isn’t completed by a professional builder, so it’s best to check before you start.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

*Data from Home Owners Alliance shows there are 17 million homeowners in the Britain

9.07% (amount of people who’ve had DIY disasters) x 17million (Amount of households in the UK) = 1.5million homeowners.

1.5million homeowners x £2,271 (average DIY disaster cost) = £3.4billion 

Research carried out by Atomik Research with a sample size of 1,000 respondents in January 2017

For more information contact:

Jenna Moss
Press & Media Relations Manager
07770 441 828
jenna.moss@coop.co.uk