Million return from holidays to home 'disasters'Burglars and vandals help clock up repair bill

24 May 2007

Britons on dream holidays can return to nightmare homes, it was revealed today.

More than one million holidaymakers come back from breaks to find their houses in chaos, a survey from Halifax Home Insurance showed.

The annual repair bill from burglaries, the elements, vandalism and faulty utilities is expected to be as much as £2.3 billion this year, the company said.

People in the Midlands are most likely to come back to a 'hell house', with Scots the least likely to have had a home disaster while away.

Storm and fire

The survey showed:

  • Over the past 10 years, 2.5 million holidaymakers returned home to find that burglars had paid them a visit
  • It is costing more than £820 million per year to replace stolen items and repair damage to the home
  • More than 600,000 people had their home vandalised in their absence
  • 1.7 million holiday-makers have come home to find their property had suffered water damage from burst or leaky pipes costing over £960 million a year to put right
  • Almost 700,000 Brits have returned to storm damage and over 100,000 to fire damage
  • Almost one million Britons said that had returned to find their children had wreaked havoc in their home totalling over £40 million annually
  • Almost half a million people said that a house sitter had also caused damage while they were away.
  • Just under seven million have returned to find a fault with a utility such as their central heating, hot water, gas or electricity, costing in excess of £210 million a year to fix.

House insurance

Which? researcher Alison Watson said: 'Returning from a holiday to find a home disaster would undoubtedly be distressing, so having adequate house insurance at all times is essential.

'Make sure you know exactly what your policy covers by reading terms and conditions carefully and see the latest Best Buys for buildings insurance and contents insurance.'