Homeowners fear burglars more than bailiffs

Burglary is seen as the number one threat to their home, picked by two-thirds of those surveyed (65%), compared with almost half of people (49%) citing mortgage payment problems as a significant threat.

Similarly, almost half of UK homeowners believe they are likely to be burgled at some time (49%) while less than four in ten (38%) worry that they may be made redundant. This is despite the latest official figures showing that currently we are more likely to become unemployed than to be burgled.

Cause for alarm

Around half of Britain's homeowners take out insurance policies to protect their domestic appliances, plus we spend an average of £1,266 each on burglar alarms, security lights and other deterrents.

Yet against this background, only just over a third of homeowners (37%) have taken out any form of insurance to cover their mortgage payments in case they should suffer a sudden loss of income.

Chris McFarlane, Head of Protection at LV=, warns: "Owning and protecting a home is a prized part of British life, but it's a concern that so many more people protect the bricks and mortar and their possessions, than protect the income they need to pay for their home and lifestyle."

What are the chances?

The LV= research suggests homeowners do not give enough consideration to the potential impact of one scenario over another when assessing the greatest risks to their home. Instead their judgement seems largely linked to the chances - in their eyes - of each scenario occurring.

Chris McFarlane continues: "Understandably it's easier to imagine a burglar than a bailiff at the door, but we would urge people to consider carefully what impact a loss of income would have. It's not only more likely to happen than a burglary, but it could have a far bigger long-term impact than losing some of their possessions or an appliance breaking down.

"We are not only concerned that so few homeowners have financial protection for their mortgage, but also that most of these people have either short-term or restrictive levels of cover, that would not realistically protect their mortgage and other payments for as long as needed.

"Fewer than one in ten homeowners have proper long-term income protection, even though a year's worth of cover costs only a fraction of the average spend on home security. As little as 59p per day could ensure you can maintain a reasonable quality of life if you lost your income due to sickness. Or for an extra 72p a day you could protect against unemployment too, so you don't have to hand back the keys to your castle."