Press release


Monday 3 December 2012

• Almost half of over 50s no longer do the maintenance they used to
• One in ten don’t do any annual maintenance
• A quarter of over 50s don’t save money for home emergencies

British weather is famously unpredictable and research by Saga Home Emergency shows that despite bad weather causing more than half of all building claims last winter*, nearly half of over 50s no longer do any annual home maintenance themselves and one in ten don’t get anyone else in to do it either**.

DIY home maintenance seems to be a dying art as more than half (58%) of people don’t feel qualified to do some jobs around the home and a third prefer to pay a professional. While one in eight (12%) claim they don’t have time to carry out any basic maintenance themselves.

Londoners are the least likely to carry out basic annual maintenance on their home and are also far more likely to pay someone to do the work than anywhere else in the country. People living in East Midlands, East Anglia and the North East are the most likely to keep on top of basic repairs.

While most over 50s are on the ball when it comes to getting their boilers serviced (75%), only half get overhanging branches trimmed (49%) or get their gutters cleared (45%). Only 28% of people check pipes for lagging or cracks, but this could be a costly mistake as on average burst pipes and the damage they cause cost around £1,300 to repair. Although, the largest cost incurred by Saga Home Insurance for repairing damage caused by a leaking pipe was almost £70,000.

Although a home emergency could be expensive, a quarter of over 50s don’t put any money aside to pay for one.

Roger Ramsden, chief executive, Saga Services commented: “The majority of emergencies happen during the winter months, and therefore it’s important that people look after one of their greatest assets by keeping on top of basic repairs or putting some money aside in case the worst happens.

“And you never know what you might find during routine maintenance - items found when clearing out gutters have included a WW1 newspaper and their next door neighbour’s tortoise!”

Saga Home Emergency offers the following tips on preparing homes for bad weather this winter:
• Service boilers annually.
• Trim any overhanging trees to prevent damage.
• Check roof tiles for any cracks.
• Clear gutters from debris to prevent blockages.
• Check pipes both in the home and outside for any cracks. Don’t forget pipes that are
   tucked away in lofts.
• Fix any dripping taps.
• For more handy tips please visit

For over 50s who want some peace of mind Saga Home Emergency could provide reassurance if they are faced with a home emergency. If a customer’s boiler breaks or a pipe bursts then an approved tradesman will be at hand 24/7, 365 days a year. The service also provides a guarantee on repairs and customers will not face any call out charges.


Notes to Editors

• *More than half of all buildings insurance claims made last winter were the result of weather-related incidents compared to a little more than a third in winter 2010/2011 – Money supermarket 2011
• **Populus interviewed 9,049 Saga customers, all aged 50 and over, online between 28th and 5th September 2012. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

Regularly carry out/arrange the following
% of over 50s 
Boiler Maintenance  75% 
 Trim trees and shrubs 49%
 Clear guttering 45%
 Repair dripping taps 34%
 Check the roof for loose tiles 31%
Check the lagging on external pipes/hidden pipes 19%
Chimney sweep 12%
Examine pipes for cracks 10%
Examine electrical wiring for damage 8%

Of those who carry out annual
home maintenance 
 Do Themselves Use a professional 
Boiler maintenance   3% 96% 
Clear guttering  58%  25% 
Check roof for loose tiles  62%  24% 
Examine pipes for cracks  72%  13% 
Check the lagging on pipes  75%  9% 
Examine electrical wiring to check
for damage
54% 34%
Repair dripping taps 57% 26%
Sweeping chimneys 16% 79%

 Most likely to say they don't carry out/
arrange any home maintenance
London (20%) 
Most likely to say they don't have the qualifications
to do home maintenance themselves 
London, East Midlands, East Anglia (61%) 
Most likely to pay someone to do their
home maintenance 
London (45%) 
Most likely to say they don't have the time to do any
home maintenance themselves 
Wales (16%) 

Saga Home Emergency
• Saga Home Emergency is designed for the over 50s
• Approved tradesmen are available 24/7, 365 days a year in the event of a home emergency
• The service provides a guarantee on repairs
• A choice of three cover levels: Home Emergency, Home and Heating Emergency and Complete Home and Heating care
• Please visit for more details