If you have ever decided to manage our own home renovation project or taken the plunge to get on the tools you will know the underlying risks that exist when we decide and go full boar into the DIY arena. There are cost overruns, pitfalls concerning the lack of experience, and the potential that should things really go awry we could end up living for 3 months without a bathroom or kitchen as the real pros come in to clean up our mess. But these hazards pale in comparison to how your life will change in the unfortunate occurrence of an on-site accident which leaves you seriously injured.
No matter how safe you perceive yourself to be while on the job, accidents do happen. That is why they are called accidents!
A Monash Injury Research Institute study has found home injuries in Victoria grew nearly 40% between 2003 and 2012 and over 30,000 people were hospitalised, costing a total of $227 million. This study highlighted the fact home injury affected 19,000 more people than were affected by road injuries during the same period.
However, the research also found home injuries among the 45 to 64 age group had increased from about 3900 in 2003 to around 5500 in 2012.
There had been speculation by the co-author of the study, Dr Lesley Day, that the increase in home injury was due to the inspiration of TV Home renovation shows like The Block but her team could not prove this theory. There is no specific study to define injury by renovation. Besides I don’t know how many 60 year old people in the study are in their backyard knocking up a new patio.
Renovation based injury is commonly associated with falling from a stool or ladder, followed by lacerations from power tools and inhalation of dangerous chemicals and dust.
The bottom line is that construction is dangerous business, and you as a homeowner are even more likely than a professional builder to incur an injury since you lack industry experience and most likely don’t have the same safety equipment or training.
While a few stitches aren’t the end of the world, a serious injury can cost you a whole lot more than just your hospital bills.
In Australia, if you’re injured on the job Worker’s Compensation insurance will cover you and your family while you are unable to work, but many people do not realise that should you miss work due to a non-job related accident that you will simply be left out in the cold.
Even fairly “basic” injuries like a high ankle sprain can force you out of work for a month or longer. Imagine shelling out for hefty medical bills without any salary coming in. Break your neck or suffer some other long-term disability and your family could end up in the poor house.
What about the love job? Can we still feel the love?
Even the most ardent do-it-yourself renovator generally calls in a tradie or two to finish up aspects of their project that require council inspection. Especially where the law states you have no choice ie. electrical and plumbing work.
But when family members and friends get involved in the home extension and they get hurt what happens there? I’m glad you asked because there is ‘Voluntary Worker Insurance’ to cover that. There is a common assumption Public Liability Insurance or House and Contents Insurance will cover you in this instance but it simply doesn’t. Imagine the difficult conversation you will have if your brother in law breaks his leg and is off work for 2 months. If the injured party can prove negligence or poor workmanship on your part you could be sued and forced to pay damages above and beyond treatment costs.
Where is the love then!
Financial catastrophe v the price of insurance.
Fortunately products exist that protect owner builders and do-it-yourself renovators while they undergo a major home renovation. An affordable site liability insurance policy can cover both you, the homeowner, and any other subcontractor that you hire to help you in your home renovation in the event of an injury. It’s best to get educated and call a professional to discuss your project and they will help you make an informed decision as to which insurance product is right for you.