First-timers ill-prepared

This is according to The CPP Group, provider of assistance products and services throughout Europe. The company asked a representative sample of 2,000 who they would be most likely to call for help if they had a home emergency.

The survey suggests young homeowners (16-24 years) often depend on parental help in their first home. In addition to relying on parents, a further 9% of young people would call the emergency services for advice on repairs - another example of first-time buyers struggling to cope with the reality of home life by taking inappropriate action in a moment of panic.

Broader findings include:

• In general, 86% of people admit to needing help in the event of an emergency at home, with just 14% of people attempting to handle the problem themselves.

• women are 16 times more likely than men (16% v 1%) to call their partner in a panic. Indeed, men prefer to handle the problem themselves (21%), compared to just 7% of women who would attempt to solve the problem on their own.

• 6% of women and 1% of men would call their children.

• Instead of taking the immediate step to stop water cascading from a burst pipe, 14% of people would first call their insurance company for advice.

• People with a higher income are more likely to employ a recommended tradesperson than those with a lower income (24% v 12%). The lower income group prefer to save money and handle the problem themselves (15%).

Commenting on the findings, Claire Sirett, home assist product manager, said: "It is incredible to see that with 86% of people requiring help to cope with a home emergency, many of these would take inappropriate action. These findings therefore show that there is not only a real need for a service that saves the homeowner from much of the spiraling cost of a home emergency, but also that people need a service they can rely on day and night.”