Whether letting a property or living in your own home you should consider how to best prepare the property. Early planned arrangements will help mitigate possible circumstances arising later, especially for the most common occurrences. Most importantly, ensure you have appropriate home insurance protection in place.
Helpful information to protect your home
It is often unexpected events that may lead to weather related damage to a home. Although prevention may not always be possible, these are a few steps that could help to mitigate against losses and minimise possible claims.
- Regulate the temperature in the property
A simple but effective tip is to try to ensure the temperature within the property doesn’t drop below 10°C in the colder months, day and night. This could help reduce the potential for burst pipes which is a common incident caused from very low temperatures.
- Inspect pipework and consider home insulation
Carefully check the condition of any pipework and water tanks to explore whether the insulation in the property is sufficient. Certain weather conditions can cause frost which can in turn cause pipes to burst. This may result in expensive damage. To avoid this happening ensure all pipes are fully lagged and any leaks are dealt with as soon as possible. Make sure the loft is adequately insulated, to give additional protection to pipes or water tanks and to keep the home warm.
- Look out for leaks from heating radiators
Unpredictable weather conditions can expose weaknesses in fitted home equipment and appliances. Leaks can occur from weakened or damaged radiator valves so check regularly for any leaks. A minor leak is easily resolved and avoids serious damage.
- Make arrangements for boiler maintenance
Low temperatures can cause water in a boiler to condensate in the pipe and freeze - creating a blockage. Boilers are usually in use for prolonged periods in colder months, this can put extra strain on components and so increasing the chance of breakdown. Make sure the property is kept warm by having the boiler and heating/hot water system serviced regularly by a qualified plumber or service engineer.
- Check and maintain the drains, terrace and roof
Arrange to keep drains and gutters free of debris and other blockages with regular maintenance. Blocked drains and gutters are a major factor in water entry. Keep the roof or terrace areas free of all vegetation that could damage the property and allow rain or melting snow to get in. The condition of a roof needs to be maintained, make sure there aren’t any cracked or loose elements. Have it checked by a qualified professional to ensure that the roof is watertight and all tiles or slates are secure.
- Secure fences and stabilise posts
Make sure that fences and posts are as secure as possible, this will help to prevent them causing damage to any other parts of the property when turbulent weather conditions occur.
- Clear the garden of equipment
In preparation for stormy weather if possible put garden furniture, bikes, lawnmowers etc. away and dismantle trampolines. Even smaller ‘everyday use’ garden equipment, such as shovels and rakes, should be put away. These could be at risk of being knocked over and causing damage to the property.
- Reduce the impact of damaged hedges and falling branches from trees
Clear away overhanging or loose branches safely and contact the local authority for maintenance, if appropriate. Check the surrounding area for overgrown hedges and trees where snow and ice could create additional weight. Heavy winds or weight of snow/ice could bring down branches and even entire trees, potentially causing damage to the property.
- Prepare for flood damage
If your property is in an area prone to flooding, ensure you are aware of the local environment agency warning system. To help keep you and your family safe, have a pre-packed kit ready to grab with all your essentials such as waterproof clothing and boots, medical supplies and important documents. Have sandbags ready to place around the property to help prevent water entry. Store any contents upstairs or move them to higher shelves. If possible store away from your property.
Specialist Home Insurance cover is key
Whilst it’s better to prevent problems occurring in the first place from unpredictable weather conditions, sometimes incidents do happen. To protect your property it is advised to have specialist home insurance cover in place. If you would like to discuss your home insurance needs, we are here to help.
Get in touch
If you need specialist home insurance cover, or would like a review of your existing arrangements, please get in touch.
Contact: Non-Standard Home Insurance Team
Call: 0345 000 0438
The sole purpose of this article is to provide guidance on the issues covered. This article is not intended to give legal advice, and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and/or market practice in this area. We make no claims as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein or in the links which were live at the date of publication. You should not act upon (or should refrain from acting upon) information in this publication without first seeking specific legal and/or specialist advice. Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Brokers Limited accepts no liability for any inaccuracy, omission or mistake in this publication, nor will we be responsible for any loss which may be suffered as a result of any person relying on the information contained herein.
Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Brokers Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered Office: Spectrum Building, 7th Floor, 55 Blythswood Street, Glasgow, G2 7AT. Registered in Scotland. Company Number: SC108909. ajg.com/uk