£10 billion maintenance bills leave homeowners out in the cold

Article date: 7 November 2003

Homeowners are forking out over £10 billion ayear on repairing and decorating their homes.

Figures reveal that the average homeowner spendsnearly £700* each year on materials and hiring tradesmen tomaintain their homes.

But research from Norwich Union reveals that onein five homeowners has been a victim of cowboy builders or roguerepairers.

To help customers protect their homes and avoidthe hassle of finding trustworthy tradesmen, Norwich Union islaunching two new products - Home Emergency Cover and CentralHeating Cover.

Home Emergency Cover is designed to fill the gapleft by some home insurance policies, which cover resulting damage,but not always the cost of repairs for the immediate problem.

Providing a 24-hour helpline for customers, thepolicy covers a variety of home emergencies, including blockeddrains, electrical wiring problems and leaking roofs. The policyalso provides cover for temporary accommodation if the homeowner isunable to stay in their home overnight as a result of theemergency.

Central Heating Cover provides protectionagainst the breakdown of domestic gas central heating systems,including the boiler, radiators, controls and the hot watercylinder. The policy also provides an annual inspection of theboiler – if this reveals it is not working efficiently, anengineer will carry out a full service.

Commenting on the new products, Louise Spear,development manager, Norwich Union, said: "We’ve commissionedextensive research among our customers to find out what help theyneed in looking after their homes. Many said they needed moresupport with day to day management – be this coping witheveryday hassles or ongoing maintenance. Others were worried abouthiring tradesmen, fearing that they might get ripped off or sufferfrom shoddy workmanship.

"As the insurer of one in five homes, we alreadyhave access to a wide network of approved contractors. Theseproducts help homeowners to maintain their property safe in theknowledge that should the worst happen, a reliable tradesmen is onhand to do any repair work."

Both products also provide:

  • No excess and no maximum number of claims
  • Emergency hotline available 24 hours a day, 365 days ayear
  • Covers call-out charges, the cost of parts and labour, andVAT.
  • Usually same-day attendance for emergencies, next-day for allother calls
  • Access to network of approved contractors

Home Emergency Cover costs £3.95 a month and thecost of Central Heating Cover is £13.95 per month.

For more information, customers should call 0800056 2496 or visit the website at www.norwichunion.com/homeservices


Media contact: Liz Kennett at Norwich Unionpress office on 01603 688263/out of hours 07801 901666

Notes to editors:

* £10bn - total annual spend in 2002 onrepairing and decorating the home - divided by 14.9m – numberof owner-occupied households = c£700 per household. Source –Office of National Statistics

Both policies are standalone products availableto homeowners in mainland UK or the Isle of Wight – they donot need to be an existing Norwich Union customer. For CentralHeating Cover the customer has to be on mains gas, and while thereare some restrictions on the age and type of boiler, the majorityof these can be catered for.

  • Norwich Union insures one in five households
  • Norwich Union products are available through a variety ofdistribution channels including brokers, corporate partners suchas banks and building societies and Norwich Union Direct.
  • Norwich Union’s news releases and a selection of imagesare available on the Aviva internet press centre atwww.aviva.com/media
  • An ISDN facility is available for studio quality interviews.Call the press office on 08703 66 68 68

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