Household bills Britons' 'biggest worry'

BRITONS worry more about household bills than family issues, pressures at work or relationship problems, according to a new Europe-wide survey by insurer Zurich into what keeps people awake at night.

Almost half of the respondents in the UK (45%) - more than anywhere else in Europe - list money worries as their biggest anxiety.

The Eurozone financial crisis is at the bottom of the list of concerns at just seven per cent - far lower than for many other European countries.

After household bills, the next biggest worries for Britons are:

  • children and family issues (36%)
  • noisy neighbours (29%)
  • pressure at work or school (26%)

A fifth (20%) of people are kept awake by a snoring partner and 13% by bad weather - the joint-highest percentage of any other European country surveyed, along with Switzerland.

Britons consider insuring their homes more important than insuring their lives. Eighty-three per cent ranked household insurance as one of the top three most important insurance products, ahead of 76% for car insurance and 54% for life insurance.

Thirty-five per cent of Britons also ranked travel insurance as important, far more than their European counterparts, such as the Germans (four per cent), Italians (five per cent) and Spanish (six per cent).

More than half of people in the UK think the biggest risks they face are losing a loved one (62%) or illness (57%).

When asked what three things they would like to insure, if it were possible, 63% of the UK chose “steady health for myself and my family”, more than half (52%) said financial security and just under half (46%) selected happiness.

When it comes to security, people from the UK rely on alarms (11%) and the police (17%), more than most Europeans.

"With rising household bills, it’s no surprise that a lot of people are being kept awake at night worrying about money," said Kay Martin, chief marketing officer for Zurich's general insurance business in the UK.

"It's also interesting to see the differences between what Britons say they value and what they insure. Although they believe the biggest risks they face are illness and losing a loved one, they put life insurance in only third place in the list of insurance priorities.”

The survey also reveals the differences between age groups in the UK.

Younger people (16 to 34-year-olds) are more likely to rate loneliness as a major risk than those aged 55 and above (34% versus 18%) and they are also more concerned about poverty than older generations (27% versus 16%).

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