Embracing Friday 13th could save you a fortune

From property to flights, insurance to the stock market, it’s high time to set aside the triskaidekaphobia

Kate Hughes
Money Editor
Thursday 12 July 2018 12:08 BST

You won’t find it in at airport gates, software editions skip straight past it, and a startling 72 per cent of Britain’s street don’t have one, but with an inauspicious Friday upon us Brits could do their wallet a favour by embracing the number 13.

Whether you put your nagging feelings of uncertainty down to Biblical references, various horror movies terrified the reason out of you or Dan Brown’s reference to Knights Templars massacres suddenly made sense of your irrational fears, the UK as a whole is a remarkably superstitious nation. Around 40 per cent of us adhere to at least one bizarre rule for fear of a jinx.

Millions of people refuse to walk under ladders, take care not to cross cutlery, panic at a pair of shoes left on a table and desperately look for more than one magpie. Don’t even get us started on breaking mirrors, spilling salt or opening umbrellas inside.

Concern over Friday the 13th though, with two falling in the average year, is both the most widespread and, potentially, the most lucrative.


The truth is that spooked Brits seem to take more care on this unlucky day. Not only are there fewer home insurance claims made, but the value of those claims is also lower.

In fact, data from Policy Expert has witnessed this pattern for the last ten consecutive dates, stretching back to 2013. Most recently, April Friday 13th saw the average insurance claim costs down by £200, October Friday 13th saw claims drop by £69 and January Friday 13th saw a drop of £373.

If you’re looking for a truly unlucky day fear Monday 27th instead, when research from AA Insurance’s analysis of a million claims found Brits are more likely to have an accident or break something than any other day of the year.


But our superstitious natures don’t stop at worrying about bumping into things. Around 15 per cent of us will refuse to move house on a Friday 13th for fear of misfortune.

One recent discovery at the Registers of Scotland found that many of us won’t even exchange or complete a property sale on Friday 13th.

Analysis of records dating back to 2003 showed that less than half the number of properties expected actually changed hands on that date. And it can’t be put down to seasonal shifts or the day of the week either.

On Friday 13th January 2017, for example, 524 residential properties changed hands in Scotland. However, on the equivalent Friday in 2016 - which fell on the 15th of the month - 1,321 residential properties were exchanged.

But it’s the long term association that could save most cash.

Only 28 per cent of streets in the UK have a number 13, and, according to Zoopla a third of us wouldn’t live at that address.

It makes the average property number 13 three per cent cheaper than their equivalent properties with less sensitive numbers.

Not only that but levels of superstition vary across the country, so if you’re prepared to live at number 13 in the North East, for example, there’s a chance you could bag a bigger bargain. Just don’t expect the same opportunity from the reason-based folk in the East of England.


The price of gold in particular – that most emotive of metals – seems to be hit hard by the "Friday 13th effect". Precious metals platform Bullionvault.com, reported back in 2015 that gold transactions fall by an average of 39 per cent on a Friday 13th, so if you’re planning to buy a few ounces today may be your day to snap up a relative bargain.

Meanwhile, City traders may be among the most superstitious bunch around but the infamous Friday 13th effect seems to be diluting thanks to the prevalence of automatic trading other software based activity.

Indeed, examining data from 1990 onwards, the Wall Street Journal Markets Data Group recently found that the average Friday 13th saw US markets close up 61 per cent of the time.


And finally, despite the fact that stats from the database of worldwide aircraft accidents at the Aviation Safety Network found there were fewer fatal accidents on Friday 13th (an average of 0.067 compared with 0.091 fatal accidents on any given day), flights to the top 10 UK destinations were around 8 per cent cheaper in 2017 that day.

In previous years, the difference has been as much as a fifth. Clearly it pays to face the fear and do it anyway.

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