NEW floors, bathroom makeovers and paint jobs are the most popular home upgrades in the UK, a study has found.

Over the past five years, some 50 per cent carried out interior decoration, 31 per cent replaced the flooring, and 29 per cent installed a new bathroom, according to research by GoCompare Home Insurance.

A further 25 per cent either revamped the garden, fitted a new kitchen or installed a new boiler or heating system.

Overall, some 68 per cent of work is undertaken to improve a property’s general appearance rather than essential maintenance, which accounts for just 38 per cent.

Energy efficiency improvements featured strongly in the list, including installing a new boiler or central heating system and improving insulation.

It also found that 21 per cent fitted new windows or double glazing, 16 per cent put up a new shed or garden building, 13 per cent carried out exterior decoration and 13 per cent also improved the insulation of their home. Just eight per cent did electrical rewiring, an extension or a new roof.

However, the survey found that only a quarter of those who carried out work had spoken to their insurer about their plans or changes they had made.

Home insurance policies typically exclude cover for structural alterations, renovations, poor workmanship and faulty materials. Therefore, home owners tackling major projects they are not qualified to do, such as electrical or plumbing work, could invalidate their insurance.

“Before undertaking any home improvements it’s a good idea to dig out your household insurance to check whether you’re covered if things go wrong,” said Ben Wilson from GoCompare Home Insurance.

“While you don’t need to inform your insurer about routine decorating or maintenance, it’s a worthwhile precaution to check whether you’re covered for accidental damage.”

Household building and contents insurance policies generally don’t cover accidental damage to the building or belongings unless cover has been specifically added.

So, if a home owner has a DIY accident while redecorating a room or puts their foot through a ceiling while laying loft insulation, they won’t be covered unless they’ve bought the extra protection.

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