Consumers concerned over unexpected costs this winter

26 Jan, 2015

A new survey from HomeServe reveals that millions of UK homeowners are concerned about unexpected costs hitting strained family budgets this winter.

More than half (51%) of UK homeowners polled in HomeServe’s “Unexpected Costs of Winter” survey reveal they are concerned by boiler breakdowns, expensive car repairs, or burst pipes – examples of unexpected winter costs that can rise into hundreds of pounds.

Strained household budgets (26%), the costs of Christmas and high seasonal spending (20%), rising household bills and outgoings (17%) and a lack of savings (11%) are leading to homeowner concerns, according to the representative survey of 2,000 UK homeowners conducted by Consumer Intelligence.

Unexpected costs topping this year’s list of concerns are boiler breakdown (chosen by 36% of those polled), car breakdown (32%), frozen or burst pipes (27%), appliance breakdowns (23%) and plumbing problems (21%). Storm damage (18%) and unplanned energy bill hikes (13%) also featured highly in the survey.

Greg Reed, HomeServe’s Chief Marketing Officer, said: “It’s not surprising that typical home emergencies feature so highly on the list of concerns this winter. The survey shows that people are having to make some tough financial choices, and we are on hand to help them wherever we can.”

To coincide with the survey, HomeServe has launched a new interactive Seasonal House – available by visiting – which highlights potential problems in the home this winter and offers a range of useful tips for UK homeowners and landlords.

“There are many simple steps people can take to protect their homes in the weeks and months leading up to the peak of winter,” added Reed. “By taking care of a few things now, homeowners and landlords can limit their chances of facing potentially more expensive or unexpected costs later on.”

Millions of UK homeowners are believed to have experienced at least one unexpected cost in 2014 (a total of 64% of those polled) and almost three in ten (29%) had problems paying for it. The research also reveals a stark generational gap, with almost half of 18-24 year olds (49%) struggling to fund their unexpected costs, compared to just 8% of over 65s.