This article is contributed by Nest, our home insurance specialist partner.
As the evenings are drawing in and the temperature is dropping, it might be a good time to think about winter-proofing your home.
Damage caused during winter from burst pipes, high winds, heavy rainfall, and snow will usually be protected by your home insurance – providing you have kept your home maintained. However, by following these simple steps you can reduce the risk factors and prevent inconvenient and costly claims.
We have put together the following handy tips to help you protect your home:
1. Check your guttering and drains
Blockages caused by leaves, moss, and other debris can prevent water from flowing, and increase the likelihood of water damage to the property. The weight of water or snow could also cause your guttering to fall down.
2. Inspect your roof
If it is practical and safe to do so, get up a ladder or take a good look at your roof from the ground. Keep an eye out for loose tiles and get a local roofer to take a look if you have any concerns. This could prevent serious water damage caused by rain or melting ice/snow getting into the loft. Also, be sure to check for any overhanging tree branches. High winds could cause these branches to fall and damage the roof.
3. Protect your pipes
The majority of claims received by insurers over the winter months are for damage caused by burst pipes. When the temperature drops, the water inside your pipes can freeze, and as the ice expands, it can rupture the pipe. Then when the temperature rises again, the ice melts and water leaks from the burst pipe resulting in water damage and flooding of the property or its grounds. To prevent this, make sure that all pipes are fitted with insulation. Insulation is cheap and easy to fit – it just wraps around the pipe. Also, don’t forget to check your outside taps – keep an eye out for drips.
4. Make sure you know where your stopcock is
If you are unfortunate enough to have a burst pipe or central heating issue, it is vital that you know where to find your water stopcock. The stopcock is used to turn off the water supply to the property.
5. Maintain your heating at a low level
If you are planning to go away for a few days or more, keeping your heating at a constant low level will stop the pipes in the home from becoming cold enough to freeze. It is also sensible to leave the hatch to your loft open to allow warm air to circulate.
6. Make sure your fences are maintained
Insurers won’t cover you for fences that are damaged or blown down in storms or other bad weather. Make sure your fences are sturdy and prepared for high winds.
7. Service your boiler
If your boiler has not already been serviced, get it checked in time for the big freeze. Doing this before the severe weather starts could save you a lot of money in boiler repair or replacement and give you peace of mind that your central heating will keep you and your family warm over winter.
Do you have a carbon monoxide detector?
Make sure that you check and maintain a CO (carbon monoxide) detector. If you haven’t got one already, then get one. You cannot smell or taste carbon monoxide, but it is incredibly dangerous and can lead to death.
Do you have home emergency cover?
This cover can be added to your home insurance at any time. It will cover for emergency call outs and repairs for a number of scenarios, such as roof damage, burst pipes or water tanks, drain blockages, boiler problems, loss of electricity supply, heating system failure, being locked out of your home, broken doors/windows and removal of pests or vermin.
If you have questions regarding any of the above or wish to discuss your home insurance, contact your Genistar representative today to see how we can help you with your home insurance needs.