Figures gathered by charity for the elderly Age UK show that door-to-door visits from bogus tradesmen occur over five and a half thousand times a year in England and Wales.
In the particular brand of fraud peddled by door-to-door tradesmen, there are a number of ways in which homeowners are victimised. Residents may be pressured into paying for emergency repairs or routine maintenance which the tradesman believes is necessary on the home, but which can often lead to shoddy or even non-existent work being carried out, usually charged at extortionate rates. The type of individuals who usually engage in this kind of activity will be confident conmen, often lying about their membership of a trade organisation to convince the homeowner that the job required is genuine and that they’re authentic.
The figure collected by the charity – a total of 5,673 recorded between 2013 and 2014 – includes cases committed against all age groups, but it’s older people who make up the main victims of such crime. In fact, research recently carried out by Age UK found that 53% of people aged 65 and over believe they’ve been the target of some form of fraud.
Whilst this is not to say that most over-65s fall victim to these ploys, older people are sadly more vulnerable due to a number of factors which become common in later life. As described by Age UK, the social isolation some experience can affect older people’s ability to deal with the advances of a fraudster. This may come as a result of bereavement, and this emotional vulnerability makes them an easier target. Financial pressures, coupled with the cognitive impairment that affects many in old age, are yet further reasons as to why the elderly are more likely to fall victim to fraud.
Many elderly people, especially those still living with partners, friends or families, will be confident of spotting and avoiding such activity. However, those who live alone and have fewer friends or relatives to turn to may find it more difficult to judge the legitimacy of a tradesperson. They may also have trouble assessing whether or not the maintenance suggested really does need doing, which is why emergency assistance insurance can be a reliable thing for them to turn to when they feel that help is needed.
Home Emergency Cover can provide that peace of mind, knowing there’ll be someone at the other end of the phone to give assistance. The cover is especially useful for older and less able-bodied people who are less confident about carrying out jobs themselves. They may not be even physically capable of putting things right in the event of an emergency, which is why prompt assistance is necessary.
There’s a whole range of emergencies in which policyholders can be provided cover. For example, if damage to the homeowner’s roof was affecting the inside of their home, potentially creating a leak and further damage to the home’s interior, then they’d get help from a qualified tradesman to put things right. Damage to windows and doors can similarly affect both the comfort and security of the home, making this an emergency that would need to be dealt with promptly. Some policies will even provide alternative accommodation overnight if the home is not in a habitable state, showing how this type of cover really proves its worth in an emergency.
Perhaps most importantly of all, Home Emergency Cover policies usually provide some level of cover in the event of a boiler breakdown. It’s a fact that elderly people tend to feel the cold more – there were an estimated 36,300 ‘excess winter deaths’ of people aged 75 or over between 2014 and 2015. This is in stark comparison to the 7,700 people aged under 75, with the main cause for these deaths being respiratory problems, issues which are exacerbated during cold weather.
‘Excess winter deaths’ is the difference between the number of deaths that occur during the winter months (December to March) and the rest of the year, and overall, these figures show just how important heating and comfort is to the older generation. This is why emergency boiler breakdowns need to be protected against with a suitable policy like Home Emergency Cover – visit bestpricefs.co.uk/home-emergency-cover to find out more.
In the event of typical maintenance issues not covered by this sort of policy, helpline operators should still be able to give the policyholder some straightforward directions about managing risk and damage. Assistance via the helpline should hopefully provide the policyholder with a clearer understanding of the issue, therefore reducing their risk of being taken advantage of by an independent tradesman.