Protect your property this winter.

By Emma Drew

December 17, 2015

Protect your property this winter.

While a blanket of fresh white snow may resemble a winter wonderland, the icy conditions that come with it could cause serious damage to your property.

This time of year sees an increase in insurance claims with the most common incidents occurring when temperatures fall below freezing, causing damage to pipes, ceilings and roofs. Many households presume their home insurance policy is enough to protect their home against weather damage, but often underestimate the cost of replacing the contents within the home that may also be damaged.

Severe property damage can be a very distressing and disruptive experience, as demonstrated by the devastating images of Storm Desmond, with many people having to go into temporary accommodation while repairs are carried out on their homes.

Follow these preventative measures to minimise the risks of severe weather damage to your home this winter.

To prevent frost damage:

  • Insulate all water pipes and water tanks
  • Insulate loft spaces but allow for ventilation and open loft hatches frequently for warm air to circulate
  • Keep room temperatures to a minimum of 15 degrees C
  • Use thicker curtains to retain heat in your house
  • Never use fire to thaw frozen pipes
  • Ensure sprinkler systems are winter safe
  • Check stop-taps are working correctly

To prevent flood damage:

  • Monitor weather warnings and in coastal areas check for the risk of high tides
  • Move valuable or electronic equipment to a higher level of the house
  • Learn how to correctly turn off gas, electricity and water mains supplies
  • Use sandbags to reduce the amount of water entering your property
  • Ensure windows are sealed

To prevent storm damage:

  • Clear unsafe levels of snow from rooftops
  • Check roof tiles and slates are secure
  • Replace any damaged roof tiles to avoid water damage to loft spaces
  • Remove leaves and debris from gutters, use a leaf guard to prevent build up
  • Cut down any loose hanging branches from trees
  • Store garden items away during high storms
  • Secure any loose fencing panels

Chimneys and heating systems:

  • Have your chimney cleared of debris at least once a year
  • Place wire over chimney cans to prevent a build-up of leaves and to keep birds out
  • Check boilers and central heating systems to ensure they are working efficiently
  • Wood burning stoves should be checked by a HETAS approved supplier to ensure the safety of the chimney flue

If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a loss, it is advisable to take photos of any damage caused to your property and to keep a reference from local newspapers as evidence of the flood, fire or storm taking place. Also keep hold of receipts for any urgent repairs you carry out on your property after an unexpected event to later make a claim.

How can we help?

For more information on home buildings and contents cover please contact Private Clients.

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