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Two-thirds of Brits have taken up a new hobby during the last year

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13% have turned hobby into a business or started a side-hustle

GoCompare Home Insurance is warning that lockdown hobbies and side-hustles may be leaving people at financial risk. 

  • Baking, reading, and home exercising topped the list of boredom busting hobbies.
  • Top side-hustles include online selling, home maintenance, dog walking, bicycle courier, tutoring and online classes.
  • GoCompare warns ‘Stay at Home’ hobbies and side-hustles may affect home insurance.

From baking to gaming, photography to Pilates, hobbies have been a lifeline for many people struggling through Covid lockdowns.  However, hobbies that require expensive equipment or include collecting valuable items may require additional insurance.

According to a new survey, commissioned by GoCompare Home Insurance, 66% of people have taken up a new hobby in the past year, with a 28% spending more time on their hobbies than usual. A fifth said they had increased their spending on their pass times and interests.

The survey also found that 5% of people have turned their hobby into a business or side-hustle, with 13% in total starting a new venture in the last 12 months.  Just under a third (32%) of those running their own business are selling items online, using online shops or marketplaces including eBay and Etsy.  Other popular business ventures include home maintenance, dog walking and grooming, bicycle courier and offering online classes to share skills or run fitness classes.    

Most popular hobbies and interests taken up during 2020

1Baking
2Reading
3Home exercising, workouts, weights, etc.
4Gardening
5DIY
6Gaming
7Running
8Photography
9Cycling
10Sketching, painting, sculpting
11Crafting (textiles, pottery, etc.)
12Knitting, crochet, embroidery
13Writing
14Yoga, Pilates
15Learning a language
16Playing a musical instrument
17Starting a collection (e.g. antiques, vinyl records, ceramics, comics, etc.) 
18Tennis
19Golf
20Flowering arranging
On 8 February 2021, an online survey of 2,042 randomly selected Great British adults was executed by Maru/Blue. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.1%. The results have been weighted by age, gender, region and social grade to match the population, according to Census data. This is to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of Great Britain. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.
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Home contents insurance covers the cost of replacing your belongings in your home if they are damaged, destroyed or stolen.  Most policies don’t cover accidental damage to belongings unless cover has been specifically added.  So, if you accidently knock over a tin of paint and ruin your carpet while doing a spot of DIY or knock a mirror off the wall while exercising, you won’t be covered unless you’ve opted for the extra protection.  

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Some hobby items such as bicycles, expensive cameras or musical instruments may also need extra cover.  For example, not all policies automatically cover cycles away from the home and costly bikes may exceed the limit paid out for a single item.

Turning a hobby into a business can adversely impact home insurance because, depending on the nature of the work, it can introduce new risks to your home (e.g. stock, tools, equipment, visitors, etc.).  Typically, standard home contents insurance policies do not provide enough cover for working from home, so you should talk to your provider if you are planning a home business to see if they can offer the appropriate cover.

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Lee Griffin, CEO and founder of GoCompare, commented: “Over the last year, hobbies have helped many people stay positive and keep busy.  There was a shortage of flour during the first national lockdown as people reached for their pinnies to bake their way through the ‘Stay At Home’ order, while sales of bicycles and musical instruments surged.  But if you have expensive new kit or you are starting a collection, talk to your insurer.

“Covid lockdowns have given many people the time and inclination to learn new skills and pursue their interests and, some have taken the opportunity to turn their passion into their business. If you are planning to turn your hobby into a home business, it is essential that you speak to your insurer.  Your policy may need to be amended, improved, or replaced to make sure it also covers your belongings connected to your business – if in doubt seek advice from a specialist business insurance provider.” 

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Lee added: “Business insurance covers thinks like stock, equipment and visitors to the home. If you are now running a business from your home it may be appropriate to consider specialist business insurance, which can also cover things like product liability, public liability and professional indemnity.

“If you are now running a business from your home, it is important that you inform your home insurance provider, as failure to do so could invalidate your insurance cover or lead to a potential claim being rejected.”


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