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Over a third of over 65-s struggle with home maintenance and risk underinsurance should they need to claim

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The latest research* from Age Co Home Insurance finds over a third (37%) of UK adults aged 65 and over currently struggle to carry out maintenance jobs in their home, such as checking for leaks or potential wear and tear. Additionally, half (50%) of over-65s have significant worries about their ability to continue to carry out everyday jobs around the home into later life. Furthermore, almost one-third (28%) of respondents say their biggest worry is the physical aspect of home maintenance, and two in five (39%) say it is a combination of monetary and physical concerns.

When asked which particular issues worried them most about their home, the most common worry is their boiler breaking down and having no hot water or heating as a result (39%), followed by their roof potentially leaking and causing damage to their property (36%). Other concerns include being burgled (34%) and storm damage to their home (33%).

When it comes to addressing issues in the home, impressively over half (53%) of over-65s say they check for issues regularly whereas one in five (18%) wait until something needs fixing and 13% put off addressing the problem until they need to use the particular item.

It is important to keep up with wear and tear or repair damage to a property that can happen over time because insurers may not pay out on claims if a home hasn’t been properly maintained. Insurers expect homeowners to keep their home in good repair and take reasonable steps to avoid loss or damage.

Senior man fixing a door

Doug Strachan of Age Co Home Insurance, said:

“For most of us keeping up with maintenance around the home can be a never-ending task and cause for concern, both physically and financially, and all the more so for those in later life. The worries some older people have about keeping up with home maintenance may mean that important jobs are put off, and therefore future home insurance claims may be at risk for those affected.”

Alongside checking the small print of your building and contents cover, Age Co Home Insurance offers the following top tips people may like to consider to prepare their home for the spring and summer months.

1. Roof inspection

If you’re worried about your roof consider asking a recommended tradesperson to take a look to check all the tiles are properly secured and the roof is sealed correctly. Winter weather can have quite an impact on the roof and it’s often difficult to spot damage from the ground.

2. Guttering & drainpipes

Cleaning your gutters and drainpipes now can help prevent any leaks from spring rains which could cause further damage. If you are unable to safely look at the guttering around the home you may wish to consider asking a friend or family member if they are able to help or alternatively get in touch with a recommended tradesperson. This also provides a good opportunity to look out for any changes in colour to plaster or woodwork outside the home which could indicate an underlying problem.

3. Exterior woodwork

Consider resealing or staining exterior woodwork, such as decking, fences, trellises and outdoor furniture, and making any necessary repairs too. These outdoor items will last much longer and stay in better condition with a bit of maintenance.

4. Painting home exterior

If you’re thinking about repainting the exterior of your home, the warmer weather and lighter spring evenings provide a good opportunity to get this bigger job done.

5. Driveways and paths

It’s worth taking a walk around your property to check your driveway and any paths or walkways are clear and have not suffered any damage over the winter months. If concrete needs to be replaced it may be a job for a recommended tradesperson.

6. Boiler service

It’s important to get your boiler serviced regularly by a registered professional and whilst they are there, you could ask them to check that the radiators are all in good working order too. It’s worth booking in this appointment well ahead of the winter months as you may not have to wait as long and it could be cheaper too.

7. Insulation

To continue to keep your home warm it’s vital to have the appropriate insulation for the loft and cavity walls. Efficient double glazing can also help keep more heat in the home. It’s worth speaking to your energy provider or local authority to ask if you might qualify for any free energy saving home improvements.

8. Smaller jobs

Has that draughty window or letterbox that doesn’t close properly been bugging you all winter? If so, now is the time to make a note of these smaller jobs and consider trying to get them sorted before autumn.

Age Co Home Insurance

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* Research commissioned from One Poll on behalf of Age UK Enterprises. Total sample size of 2,000 of the 65+ age group. Fieldwork was undertaken 05/12/2018 – 03/01/2019.

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