February 16, 2012 02:00 ET

Dark Nights Heighten Brits' Burglary Fears

- One-fifth of adults feel more at risk of burglary during dark winter months

- Other winter worries include personal injury, damage to property and cost of heating and lighting

- In total three quarters of adults more worried about home and personal security issues in the winter months

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Feb. 16, 2012) - A fifth of British people (21 per cent) say they worry their property is more at risk of burglary during the dark winter months than at any other time of year, according to new research by Santander Insurance.

From 2010 to 2011 there were 745,000 reported burglaries in England and Wales - an increase of 14 per cent on the previous year from 651,000, according to the British Crime Survey.

Santander's research also found that a fifth of people are afraid of injuring themselves in an accident or a driving accident (both 22 per cent), while a quarter (25 per cent) are worried about damage being caused to their home by adverse weather conditions.

With an average of eight hours of daylight in the UK and daytime temperatures barely reaching an average of 8° Celsius in January, February and March, almost two in five people (37 per cent) say they are worried about being able to pay lighting and heating bills this winter.

A further 15 per cent worry more about their children coming home in the evenings. In total, three quarters of adults (76 per cent) worry more about home and personal security issues in the winter months.

Regional variations

People in the North of England feel more vulnerable to burglary (29 per cent) and personal injury (25 per cent) in winter than those in other regions. Only 16 per cent of people in Scotland feel more at risk from burglary in winter, but Scots fear driving accidents (27 per cent), being able to pay lighting and heating bills (43 per cent) and damage to their property caused by the weather (36 per cent) more than people in any other region.

Steve Burton, Head of Marketing at Santander, commented: "In winter many people have more concerns and fears due to darker nights and the effects of harsher weather conditions. People are concerned about a wide variety of risks from burglary to the effects of adverse weather or their ability to pay the bills during the winter, but in some instances there are steps that can be taken to reduce the level of risk.

"We would urge people to ensure their homes and cars are adequately protected by security measures and also by comprehensive home insurance cover, so that at least they have some peace of mind that they are financially protected should something bad happen to them."

Protect against burglary

  • Check all windows and doors are closed properly with safety locks fitted to accessible doors and windows
  • Close curtains and set timer lights, where possible, if going out at night
  • Ask a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on your house in your absence
  • Install a monitored security alarm system for year-round effectiveness
  • Some of these measures may even help to reduce your monthly home insurance premiums
  • Ensure your home is covered by a comprehensive contents insurance policy.

Peace of mind - and save 20%

Santander's 'Peace of Mind Plus' home insurance policy currently has a 20 per cent premium discount for existing Santander customers, and offers a range of detailed and comprehensive features:

  • The reassurance of unlimited sum insured cover
  • The option of additional cover for personal possessions when you are away from home
  • Cover against theft of money and credit cards, including fraudulent use of cards.

Individual limits apply to certain areas of cover. More information at

The information contained in our press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions.

Notes to Editors:

1) Vision Critical interviewed 2,005 adults online between 25 - 26 October 2011.

2) Santander Peace of Mind Plus and Choices home insurance is underwritten by Aviva Insurance Limited.

About Us

Santander UK plc is a full-service retail and commercial bank providing services to 25 million customers, with more than 1,400 branches and around 4,200 cash machines. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Banco Santander. Santander UK plc manages its affairs autonomously, with its own local management team, responsible solely for its performance. Over 85% of the assets on Santander UK plc's balance sheet are UK based and it is subject to full supervision of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK. Sovereign exposures to Europe (excluding UK) as at September 2011 are not significant at less than 1% of total assets and primarily relate to Swiss government. Total exposure to periphery countries is c. 0.5% of total assets.

Banco Santander (SAN.MC, STD.N, BNC.LN) is a retail and commercial bank, based in Spain, with a presence in 10 main markets. Santander is the largest bank in the euro zone and tenth in the world by market capitalization. Founded in 1857, Santander had EUR 1,374 billion in managed funds, more than 100 million customers, 14,679 branches - more than any other international bank - and 190,000 employees at the close of June 2011. It is the largest financial group in Spain and Latin America. Furthermore, it has significant positions in the United Kingdom, Portugal, Germany, Poland and the U.S. northeast. Santander Consumer Finance operates in the Group's core markets as well as in the Nordic region. In the first half of 2011, Grupo Santander registered €3,501 million in net attributable profit.

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