With the recent change in the weather, homes will soon be exposed to strong winds, heavy showers, and cold spells. Many claims made during this period are preventable so we have compiled some hints and tips to use as a preventative measure. Not only will you be reducing the risk of a claim but you will be protecting your property and saving on paying out an excess payment and then the subsequent increase in premium for the next few years.
Buildings in sound condition will be able to cope with most weather conditions but remember insurance is not a maintenance contract and you
are responsible for maintaining your property in a good state of repair.
Freeze and Escape of Water
- If you leave your home unattended, leave the heating on low (around 15ºc).
- Know where the water shut-off valve (stopcock) is to isolate the supply in an emergency.
- Lag pipes in the loft and check that the header and water tanks are insulated.
- Lag outside water taps to prevent them freezing and pipes bursting.
- In severe cold weather open the loft hatch to warm the void.
- Plastic plumbing joints will probably degrade sooner than metal ones, so keep an eye out for the slightest hint of water.
- If you are going to be away for an extended period, consider draining down your plumbing and heating system, but please do so with professional advice.
- Regularly check the condition of all roofs. In particular check garage, shed and flat roofs for signs of wear and tear, as this is of particular importance in heavy snow with the unexpected additional weight.
- Keep gutters, gullies and drains clear to carry water away quickly and efficiently.
- A blocked down pipe with trapped rainwater may crack or shatter in freezing conditions.
- Consider cutting back low hanging tree branches which could cause damage in high winds.
- A properly functioning smoke detector will alert you in the early stages of a fire giving as much time as possible to make an escape. Test your detector regularly.
- Avoid leaving candles left unattended or in a place likely to be knocked over.
- It is advisable to have extinguishers in the home.
- Do not fill a chip pan with more than one third of fat or oil. Do not place food in the pan if the fat or oil is giving off smoke.
- Always switch off electric blankets before getting into bed. Make sure they have a safety check at least once every 3 years and contain a current safety mark.