Winter is just around the corner, so if you haven’t already done so, now is the time to make sure your home is properly protected against severe weather.
Not only will this help keep your home in good repair – which is typically a condition of your home insurance - but it can also help cut your heating bills too.
Making a few quick checks and repairs now could prevent future damage such as burst pipes – typically the most common household insurance claim.
Here are our top tips on protecting your home …
- Check your pipes. Ensure they are lagged to prevent them from freezing. You can read more about pipe lagging here;
- Repair any dripping taps and leave the plugs in sinks in frosty weather, otherwise water can freeze in the pipes;
- Know where your stopcock is so that if there is a flood, you can turn the water off quickly;
- Make sure your boiler has been serviced so it is working efficiently when you need it most. You should note that under the terms of your home insurance policy, you are required to have your boiler serviced annually by a GasSafe registered engineer;
- Clear your gutters. If you don’t, they’ll get blocked, leaving the water spilling over and running down the wall. This may cause damp and internal leaks;
- Check the exterior of your home for loose bricks, cracks and slipped roof tiles. Then call in an expert to repair them before the weather – and the problem – gets worse. Even a tiny leak over time can cause extensive internal damage;
- Invest in draught excluders to block under-door gaps as well as around windows. This will save money on your heating bills;
- Insulate your loft – this can reduce heating loss by up to 50%. Find out more here;
- Make the outer layers of your home watertight by painting them over with a special, clear paint;
- If you have trees overhanging your house, trim them back. This may help prevent branches coming off and damaging your home in heavy winds or when they are icy;
- If you have garden furniture and toys in the garden, make sure they are either locked away or very secure. In high winds they could fly off and cause damage to your home;
- If you have a dog or cat flap with a free-swinging door, swap it for one that is more secure to stop wind and rain blowing in to your home in severe weather. Microchip pet doors lock shut after your pet enters or leaves, meaning no draughts or heavy rain can enter through the flap;
- Keep numbers of trusted plumbers, roofers and other trades to hand, so that in the event of a problem, you have someone you can call and rely on.
Damage caused by severe weather can be costly to put right as well as emotionally draining. In some cases, your insurance may not pay out if the damage can be attributed to a lack of maintenance of your home. Therefore, it makes sense to give your home a seasonal check over and enjoy the peace of mind of knowing your home is properly weatherproofed and covered by your insurance policy.
Finally, if you are planning to escape to sunnier climes for a few weeks over the winter months, consider leaving the heating on in your home at a low temperature. This will help prevent frozen pipes.