Ninety per cent of Brits unaware that doing this could invalidate their home insurance

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The Gas Safe Register says that 90 per cent of householders are unaware of how their renovations could impact their home insurance cover.

The UK’s official registration body for gas engineers and businesses says that future insurance claims could be rejected if thrifty homeowners make common mistakes, including using faulty home appliances, causing DIY damage by moving a boiler or building a conservatory.

Half of householders (49 per cent) say that the pandemic has made them thrifier, prompting 45 per cent to try ‘doing it themselves’ rather than relying on qualified, legally registered professionals for improvements and renovations.

What many of them failed to realise was that not using a certified tradesperson for gas and electrical work could invalidate their home insurance.

And with many dealing with negative economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, cutting costs could prove costly in the end.



Home renovations could prove costly

Some 51 per cent of Brits admit that they’ve never read their home insurance policy in full, the survey shows.

With many people taking advantage of the stamp duty holiday, there is concern that new buyers might attempt to make their own adjustments to their houses.

To help these millions of movers and improvers stay safe and save money, Gas Safe Register has teamed up with DIY expert, Jo Behari as part of its Safety Starts at Home public awareness campaign.

Jo says: “When moving home or deciding to make big home improvements, it’s easy to get caught up in the aesthetics or keeping costs down and let home safety take a back seat.

“Before deciding to embark on any work, I urge all homeowners to ensure that the tradespeople they hire are properly qualified to safely and legally carry out the work.

“Worryingly, two thirds of gas work carried out illegally – by people not registered with the Gas Safe Register – is found to be unsafe.

“At worst, the consequences can be devastating, but it can also invalidate your home insurance. People need to check their home insurance policies so they’re clear on how work might impact their ability to make a claim.

“Always make sure you use a Gas Safe Registered engineer for gas work, checking they’re certified and on the register.

“Like with our health, prevention is better than cure when it comes to gas safety and keeping you covered for the unexpected. Having your gas appliances checked annually by a registered engineer means you won’t risk invalidating your insurance by continuing to use appliances that have developed faults.”

Jonathan Samuel, chief executive at Gas Safe Register says: “We’ve spent so much more time in our homes recently it’s natural people have looked to move and improve. We’re stressing the importance of not cutting corners when gas is involved, even when finances are squeezed.

“While DIY-ing directly with gas appliances is the most obvious way to cause a gas emergency, there are other projects that can indirectly put you at risk. For example, accidentally drilling a hole through a gas pipe while attempting to put up shelving.

“Whether it’s gas emergency, planned maintenance or improvements, it’s vital you seek the help of a registered expert. Gas engineers are listed as key workers and as such, are still conducting home visits, with the necessary precautions in place, during this period of social distancing and staying at home.”

Kate Devine, insurance expert at MoneySuperMarket said: “Attempting home improvements yourself which involve significant building work, or even gas and electrical work, rather than using a legally registered professional can seem like a great way to save money.

“However, doing so, can easily leave you exposed to having a claim refused and significantly out of pocket, should you need to call upon your home insurance policy and you have unwittingly invalidated it.

“My advice is to always be clear on what your policy covers you for and what it doesn’t. Read the Ts&Cs and make sure you enter your own details correctly.”

Tips to you stay safe:

Gas Safe Register’s five top tips to help home movers and improvers stay Better Gas Safe Than Sorry, are:

  1. Don’t try to fit, fix or move gas appliances such as a boiler, oven or cooker yourself – it’s best to use a Gas Safe registered engineer who has the right skills. Click here for more information
  2. Before carrying out any drilling, hammering or putting screws into a wall or floor check what’s behind it with a pipe, cable and stud detector. You do not want to be accidentally causing punctures in a pipe leading to a potential gas leak
  3. Never block or cover air vents and flues. If your flue becomes blocked, these gases will leak back into your home, leaving you exposed to carbon monoxide
  4. Know the six main symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning – headaches, nausea, dizziness, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness. And the signs of an unsafe gas appliance include a lazy yellow flame, black marks or stains, increased condensation and an intermittent pilot light
  5. If you suspect unsafe gas – as a result of a DIY mishap or for any other reason – it’s vital to get expert help despite lockdown. Contact the National Gas Emergency Helpline on 0800 111 999 (or 0800 002 001 if you’re in Northern Ireland). Click here for more details

Download here, the Gas Safe Register’s free winter guide, for useful information on how to stay gas safe during the colder months of the year.



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