Household insurance: prepare your house for a hard winter

December 2nd 2016

Household insurance is there to protect you but homeowners should prepare themselves for the hazards of a winter freeze over the next few months or run the risk of facing appalling damage or even health and safety claims.

Forecasters have been talking of a polar vortex settling over the country in the run-up to Christmas, and, after a succession of mild winters, the law of averages suggests we could be due a severe cold snap at some point. If we do have to endure a freezing period, the damage caused by frozen pipes is undoubtedly one of the greatest concerns for any home owner. It is worth taking steps to prevent the need for a household insurance claim.

First of all, if downpipes freeze, there is nowhere for water to run so it just sits on the roof and can then seep into the house through the roof space. It will then probably run through ceilings and into the rooms below, causing a great deal of damage and inconvenience in the process.

Furthermore, if there is an extreme cold snap with the heating left off, the possibility does arise of pipes bursting which can have dire consequences, especially if there is no one at home to turn off the stop cock.

Home owners should ensure that their gutters are clear of leaves and other debris, pipes in the roof space are well lagged and the heating is left on if they are away from the house for any length of time.

There are various systems – such as LeakSafe – that can be fitted to a property which provide protection in the event of a burst pipe. These systems shut off the water automatically if a leak is detected in the house and will prevent it cascading through your property.

Equally, trace heating is also something to consider. This is an electrical heating system which prevents the temperature of gutters or pipes falling below a certain level, thus avoiding freezing and subsequent potential problems.

These systems are easy to install and will often lead to a discount in the insurance premium.

Rob Matthews

Account Executive

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