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How DIY mistakes can damage your finances

With an extra days off work  – and weather that suggests it might be better to stay inside – this weekend is likely to be a bumper DIY bank holiday.

Brits spend an average of £3,400 a year on home improvement according to American Express, with spend on home repairs averaging £433 and painting and decorating coming in at £283.

It’s a hefty amount to fork out for each year, but for anyone eager to decorate, put up some shelves or grout some tiles, it’s worth thinking about more than just the cost of materials.

Saving to make your home better

If you’re planning home improvements, it’s worth thinking first about how you’ll fund it.

Putting the materials and tools on your credit card and thinking about them later might be tempting if things are falling down, but if you can’t pay it back straight away the costs will start adding up.

If the repairs are essential and you don’t have a rainy day savings fund, first take a look to see if you really can afford to borrow money (yes, spending on a credit card is borrowing).

If you’re struggling to pay bills in the first place, before you even consider extra money for renovations, it’s time to consider if the extra debt will push you over the edge.

Accidental damage could prove costly

If you do have the money to get moving on fixing up your home, there’s something else to consider.

With many home improvement jobs there’s a good chance something could go wrong. It might not be the horrors you sometimes read about, but spilling paint on the carpet, drilling in the wrong place or putting your foot through the loft roof all do happen. And if they do, you might not be able to claim on your insurance.

Comparison site GoCompare has analysed more than 800 contents and buildings insurance policies to see how likely they are to cover DIY going wrong.

In total, just 15% include accidental damage as standard. This means if yours doesn’t and you haven’t selected to add this cover on, you won’t be insured – which could make any repairs gone wrong very expensive to repair.

It’s usually possible to add the extra cover on to your existing policy, but it will come at a cost. Of course, there will still be exclusions and often an excess, so read the terms and conditions to make sure you know what you’re covered for.

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