Over 50s 'making do but not mending'

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Over 50s 'making do but not mending'

  • Potential £900m cost to fix most common home maintenance problems
  • Simple home repairs not done

New research commissioned to mark the launch of Saga’s home repair cover, Saga Home Response, shows that the top three home maintenance problems faced by the over 50s are dripping taps, blocked drains and leaking pipes*. The findings indicate that 39% of the over 50s have outstanding home maintenance jobs, suggesting that Britain has a new ‘making-do-but-not-mending’ generation that is suffering in silence, as five million** repair jobs in the nation’s homes are left undone.

The research found that the top 5 reasons for not fixing these nasty niggles were:

I wouldn’t feel confident/don’t have the skills to do it myself   38%
I am short of money   35%
I didn’t want to do it myself    30%
I can live with the problem   28%
I worry about calling in tradesmen unknown to me   20%

Saga estimates that the cost of sorting out the top three most common problems could be over £900m***  and that tradesmen were quoting as much as £168 to fix a leaking pipe; £137 for a blocked drain; and £84 for a dripping tap**** .

Roger Ramsden, Chief Executive of Saga Services, comments:

“The double whammy of a lack of confidence in their skills and income pressures means that the over 50s are not resolving essential problems around the home. It is also saddening to see the high proportion of over 50s who fear calling in tradesmen.  Too many people are suffering in silence and if left unchecked, today’s nasty niggles could lead to tomorrow’s homes from hell.”

For just over £2 per week***** , Saga’s Home Response cover for home maintenance or emergency issues means homeowners will have one less thing to worry about. The 24/7 service will provide the peace of mind that comes from cover for home repairs they may have in the future. In the event of an incident, Saga Home Response will source a reputable tradesman and send them out to deal with the problem.

More details of Saga Home Response or by telephone on 0800 015 4770.



Further details of Saga Home Response

  • Cover is available for a number of home emergency and maintenance issues
  • Service is available 24/7
  • Problems existing prior to the start of the policy are not covered


Source: You Gov poll, 10-13 June 2011, sample size 2047 adults, weighted to nationally representative figures

Which, if any, of the following home maintenance problems do you face/ have you faced in the last two years? (over 50s only).Percentages add up to more than 100 as people were asked to select as many home headaches as applied

A dripping tap  23%    

A blocked drain  19%

Plug socket not working  8%

A leaking pipe 19%

A toilet that won’t flush  15%

Low water pressure on shower/bath 8%

 ** You Gov poll, 10-13 June 2011, sample size 2047 adults, weighted to nationally representative figures

And which of the following are reasons why you haven’t fixed these problems in your home? Based on GB adults over 50 who have had the top 3 home maintenance problems (dripping tap, blocked drain, leaking pipe) and haven't fixed all of them. Percentages add up to more than 100 as people were asked to select as many home headaches as applied.

I wouldn’t feel confident/ don’t have the skills to do it myself


I am short of money


The job is too small to call someone out for and I couldn't/ didn't want to do it myself


I can live with it


I worry about calling in tradesmen unknown to me


Other bigger home maintenance problems are taking priority


I don’t have the time




 ***Of the 21m over 50s in the UK (TGI - Target Group Index) based on all of them having home headaches repaired to the national average repair cost per problem (as detailed below), the bill to UK over 50s over 2 years would be circa £900m:  


Incidence over the last 2 years

Number of incidences over 2 years

No. incidences x average national repair cost

Dripping tap




Blocked drain




Leaking pipe






12.81m incidences


You Gov poll, 10-13 June 2011, sample size 2047 adults, weighted to nationally representative figures

Of the 12.81m incidences over 2 years, 39% of problems have not been fixed

****Based on telephone survey of top 3 tradesmen appearing on yell.com on 15/06/11 in the most central postcode area, XX1, per city, based on 10 representative UK cities. Tradesmen were asked how much the non-emergency home repairs would cost to be repaired and if there was a call out charge.

League table of average repair cost for the UK’s top 3 ‘household headaches’  


Dripping tap

Blocked drain

Leaking pipe

Average top 3



















































Nationwide average






 *****Weekly cost of Level 4 Home Response cover is £2.08 when taken with a Saga Home Insurance policy. This rises to £2.88 per week when taken as a stand-alone policy. Problems existing prior to the policy start date are not covered.

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