AA Home Emergency Response

AA Home Emergency Response

December 02, 2011 14:00 ET

Unprotected Brits Left With Pounds Sterling 3.16 Billion Repair Bill From Winter Emergencies

More than one in four people (27%) were left counting the cost of the winter weather

Two thirds did not have home emergency cover in place to cover the costs of rectification

The average bill to repair property was Pounds Sterling 596

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Dec. 2, 2011) - The 2010/2011 big freeze, which resulted in the coldest December on record, caused broken boilers, burst pipes and central heating failures to around 7.1 million homes and cost an average £596 to repair according to the AA's Home Emergency Response service.

The new research found that more than one in four people (27%) have so far suffered a home emergency over the winter months and around two thirds (65%) either did not have a home emergency policy or had their claims rejected as standard home insurance policies tend not to cover the cost of dealing with emergencies. The collective bill for these uninsured emergencies was £3.16 billion or an average of £596 for each household forced to pay for dealing with their misfortune out of their own pocket.

Home emergencies in Scotland were most costly to repair. Around 592,000 Scots say they suffered a home emergency over the bitterly cold Scottish winter, with repair bills averaging around £1254 for those without home emergency cover.

Home emergencies were most widespread in the North of England where over a third (34%) of people found themselves having to fork out for expenses such as burst pipes, broken boilers, electricity failure or central heating breakdowns. Although the rate of occurrence was most prolific in the North of England, at £372 the average repair costs were significantly lower than the national average.

The AA says that research indicates many emergencies can be prevented and a lack of maintenance around the home is to blame for many problems. The study found that more than half of people (51%) do not check for possible problems, fail to take action unless a problem arises or do not feel that home maintenance is a priority.

AA Home Emergency Response has suggested homeowners regularly take the following precautions to prevent emergencies resulting from winter weather.

  1. Make sure the pipes in lofts and any exposed areas are sufficiently insulated
  2. Make sure the loft is also lagged - current recommended depth of mineral loft insulation is 270mm
  3. Have your central heating boiler serviced annually - spring and summer are good times
  4. Keep heating on at low levels (even if you are away) to help prevent freezing
  5. Leave loft hatch open slightly to allow warmer air to circulate
  6. Locate your main internal water stop tap so you can turn off the main water supply in an emergency - normally found under the kitchen sink, under-stairs cupboard or where the service pipe enters the building

Tom Stringer, AA Home Emergency Response, said: "Despite extremely cold winters for the last few years, so many of us are unprepared for the inevitable annual cold snap. People might mistakenly think their standard home insurance covers them for emergencies or simply that they won't be unlucky. Our research shows that things do go wrong with alarming regularity, particularly in winter, and the repairs bills can be very high. We would suggest that people look carefully at their home insurance policy and if they find they are not covered, they should look at stand-alone home emergency policies to provide them with complete peace of mind."

Notes to editors:

  • Research about winter damage was carried out by ICM amongst a GB representative sample of 2003 adults between 26th and 28th February 2011.
  • The number of people suffering home emergencies was 12.7 million. With 1.8 adults in each UK household, this equates to 7.1 million households (12.7/1.8). Of these households, 5.3 million did not have insurance.
  • The total cost is 5.307 million x £596 = £3.163 billion
  • Research detailing the incidence of home emergencies over the last 12 months was undertaken by Populus among 14,984 AA members between 11th February and 18th February 2011

About AA Home Emergency Response

AA Home Emergency Response cover provides a network of approved tradesmen available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are no call-out charges or policy excesses and for work carried out under the policy, parts and labour are guaranteed. Cover is available to both existing AA members and non members.

Customers wishing to find out more information should visit: www.theaa.com/home-emergency or call 0800 107 1031

Contact Information

  • AA Press Office
    Sue Beeson
    01256 492874

    Citigate Dewe Rogerson
    Holly Clark
    020 7282 2917