Getting a home ready for bad winter weather is vital if you’re not to end up with expensive repairs further down the road.
Being unprepared for the possibility of snow, ice, high winds and floods means you could end up falling foul of the ‘basic maintenance’ rule home insurers include in policies.
Even if you are able to claim, you’ll have to pay the excess and subsequently also be seen as a higher ‘risk’ by providers which would increase your premiums.
Here’s how to get ready for the most common worse-weather scenarios:
Storms and high winds
Tiles – If you can, take a good look at your roof tiles. If any look loose, or cracked and dislodged, you need to get them seen to. High winds can easily whip tiles off, and rain water can pour in.
Chimneys – Chimneys are highly exposed to bad weather and degraded pointing around brickwork as well as dislodged and loose flashing at the base of the chimney can spell trouble. Likewise, chimney pots often come loose or crack. If so, get yours looked at.
Trees – If there are trees close to your property, especially any with branches that overhang, you should get a tree surgeon to trim them. If they’re not your trees, speak to neighbours or the council.
Fencing – Fencing can cause significant damage if it’s loose and gets thrown around in high winds, so make sure yours is tightly battened down.
Outbuildings – Garages, garden offices, barns, sheds and other outbuildings should all be checked in the same way you’d check your house.
If your home is prone to flooding, it could be a good idea to invest in some or all of the following:
Drains and pipes – Non-return valves can be fitted to drains and inlet and outlet pipes to stop water flooding in.
Walls/floors – Raise the height of damp-proof brick courses to help stop water rising up through the ground. Lay tiles instead of carpet as it shouldn’t need replacing after a flood.
Doors/windows – Think about installing doors and windows made of synthetic materials instead of wood as it shouldn’t swell and warp due to water damage.
Electrics – Raise the height of electrical sockets and your fuse box (if it’s one that’s not close to the ceiling.
Pump – Get a pump fitted to basement areas or under-floor voids to help extract water.
Air bricks – You can buy specially designed covers to place over the ventilation bricks most houses have at the base of some walls.
Skirting – Have water-resistant skirting boards fitted, or at least varnish them with a good varnish.
Snow and ice
Guttering – Making sure your gutters are clean is vital! Clogged up guttering means water can pool, and then freeze which can split pipes and cause all sorts of headaches.
Preventing ice on the roof – Heat that escapes through roofs can continually melt and refreeze ice and snow, which gets under tiles and damages the structure. Insulate your attic or loft space if it hasn’t already been done. As a bonus, you’ll svae money on heating for years to come!
Lagging around pipes – Pipes in exposed areas, such as those which run into roof spaces or basement areas and outside can mean any water in them freezes and bursts the pipe. Lagging placed around pipes in such areas which should prevent this.
Trees – As with high winds, trees close to a home can be a problem in snowy, icy conditions. Branches can become extremely heavy with the extra-weight and break off, damaging property.
Grit the drive – Gritting your drive or other parking areas, or at least laying a base of gravel, can make it less easy for cars or other vehicles to slide around.
Dripping taps – it goes without saying that any dripping taps in exposed areas should be fixed before cold weather kicks in!
Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, so we have a team of experts with a real passion for making sure people get the cover that’s right for them. For more information, you can call our experts on 0330 0600 600 or visit www.policyexpert.co.uk/contact for more ways to reach us.
Published 13 December 2018