The Nation’s top 10 home improvements revealed

GoCompare Home Insurance’s annual survey into the UK’s top home improvements reveals that interior redecoration, updating the bathroom and replacing flooring top the list of work carried out by homeowners.

Most (85%) homeowners surveyed have updated or improved their property in the last five years.  The main motivation behind undertaking improvement works was to improve the general appearance of the property (60%), followed by essential maintenance which accounted for 38% of the projects.

Nearly a quarter (23%) said they’d undertaken works with the aim of adding value to their property.  For some (14%) improving their existing home made much more sense than moving, while the desire to follow the latest trends in home design and décor inspired 8% to update their home.

Although projects to improve the appearance of the property topped the list of home improvements, measures to improve the property’s energy efficiency featured strongly.  Installing a new boiler or central heating system, putting in double glazing, and improving insulation – all made it into the top 10.

Top 10 home improvements carried out in the last 5 years
1 Interior redecoration 46%
2 Installed a new bathroom 27%
3 Replaced the flooring 26%
4 A garden make-over 24%
5 Installed a new kitchen 24%
6 Installed a new boiler or central heating system 24%
7 Installed new windows/double glazing 19%
8 New shed or other garden building 16%
9 Exterior redecoration 13%
10 Improved the insulation 11%

Other projects undertaken by homeowners included adding a patio or garden decking (10%), extending their property (10%), knocking through rooms to create an open plan space (8%) and, electrical rewiring (8%).

However, the study also revealed that 62% of those carrying out renovations did so without telling their home insurer – potentially invalidating their policy.

Ryan Fulthorpe, from GoCompare Home Insurance explained,

“Generally speaking, if you’re planning to freshen-up your home with a lick of paint or by replacing the carpets, you don’t need to tell your insurer.  However, unless you’ve specifically added cover, home insurance doesn’t cover accidental damage to your property or your belongings2.  So, if you accidentally knock over a tin of paint while redecorating or drill a hole through a water pipe while putting up shelves, you may not be covered unless you’ve bought the extra protection.

“As a rule, home insurance policies also don’t cover tradesmen or their work.  So, before employing anyone, make sure they have their own insurance in place and check they’re qualified to carry out the work and are registered with a recognised governing body.”

Ryan continued,

“If you’re having structural work done to your property – such as knocking through rooms, adding an extension, or other works which could increase the risk of damage to your property or make it less secure – you need to speak to your insurer to ensure you have adequate cover both during and after the work has been completed.  Otherwise, you could find that you’re not covered or worse still you might invalidate your policy.

“Buildings insurance is calculated on the rebuild cost of a property so, if the renovation or improvement work increases its value and rebuilding cost, you’ll need to increase your insurance accordingly.”

To help homeowners work out how much different home improvements could add to the value of their home, GoCompare Home Insurance has produced a ‘Property Investment Calculator’.  The calculator shows the estimated profit after the average cost of works have been deducted: