One insurer alone reported that last year burst and frozen pipes cost more than £26 million, with more than 15,000 claims registered.
Many families will assume that repairs for winter weather damage to your home will be covered by their home insurance policy – but that’s not always the case.
While damage is often unavoidable, there are precautions you can take to minimise the risks from severe weather and protect your home.
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How to protect the inside of your home
1. Keep the central heating set to at least 10 degrees to prevent pipes from freezing.
2. Have your boiler serviced at least once a year by a GasSafe-registered professional and have the central heating and gas fires checked to ensure they are working safely and efficiently.
3. Check that the loft is insulated properly but also has adequate ventilation.
4. Thicker curtains will help to keep more heat in the home.
How to protect the outside of your home
1. Check the condition of the roof. Look for cracked or broken tiles, cracks in the chimney or problems with the pointing. If any repairs are needed, hire a professional roofing contractor to carry out the work as soon as possible.
2. Clear the gutters and drain pipes of any leaves or debris that have built up in them to reduce the risk of blocks and overflows.
3. Keep gates and outbuilding doors fastened securely and secure any other loose items.
4. Check external light fittings are secure.
5. Cut back low hanging branches that could cause damage in high winds or storms.
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How to protect your home against bad weather
1. Secure any garden furniture, tools, or ornaments that could get blown around in high winds.
2. If possible, park your car in a garage or under cover, or move it away from buildings and trees.
3. Keep an eye on news and weather reports.
Read our guide to protecting your pipes in winter
How to make an insurance claim on your home should something go wrong
1. If you have been unlucky enough to suffer any damage to your home, contact your insurer immediately for assistance.
2. Take photos and keep any spoilt items that will assist with the claim.
3. It might be helpful to keep any references to the storm from your local paper or the internet. This could remove any doubts or questions that storm damage happened in your area.
4. If you have undertaken immediate repairs keep a receipt.
5. It’s also worth deciding whether the cost of repairs is worth the extra premiums you might end up paying as a result of a claim, as well as the excess you will need to pay.
6. And it’s worth dealing with a respected insurer rather than just opting for the cheapest.