Fear of crime biggest influence on househunters

30 September 2004
A new survey has revealed that fear of crime is the largest influence on UK residents when moving house.

However, the greatest risk to property, according to figures by home insurer MORE TH>N, is weather damage.

Safety is followed by good transport links (cited by 25 per cent of those surveyed), good schools (11 per cent), closeness to amenities (nine per cent) and distance from family (six per cent) as influences on where people move to.

Just under one in two Britons (49 per cent) feel that safety is crucial to their decision as to where to move, and two thirds of those asked think burglary is the greatest risk their homes face.

But figures from the insurance industry point to the fact that adverse weather is more likely to affect homes than thieves.

"Fear of crime and burglary in particular is often at the forefront of people's mind when moving home. However, there are other risks that homeowners need to take into account when moving such as storm damage and flood," noted Graham Hollebon, head of personal finance at MORE TH>N.

According to the Association of British Insurers 30 per cent of claims on home insurance in 2003 were a result of weather damage, four per cent more claims than were a result of burglary.

Additionally, while the average insurance claim resulting from a burglary was £1,100 - the average claim resulting from flood damage was £5,000.

But even with the fear of theft so high MORE TH>N's survey discovered that 22 per cent of people have no home contents insurance or are underinsured.

Moreover, half of the those burgled last year had no insurance at all.
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