Prepare your property (and insurance) for weather chaos
The Environment Agency has currently issued six flood warnings and 63 flood alerts in the South West and South East as Storm Angus batters the south coast of England.
Rather than just hope you won’t be in the path of Angus or other high winds and storms, now is a good time to check whether your property is prepared for the worst of this winter’s weather – and that your insurance policy will cover you should things go wrong.
Adam Powell, head of operations of home insurance provider Policy Expert, says: “With predictions for heavy snow just around the corner, it’s important to ensure that your home is prepared for everything that the winter months might throw at it.
“Cold and stormy weather can ravage buildings, so it’s important to take the time to quickly make sure you have the correct level of home insurance cover before the weather worsens.
“Check the small print – some policies may not cover sheds and outbuildings, and others won’t cover damaged boilers if they haven’t been seen by a registered plumber.”
Policy Expert’s tips for protecting your home against the worst of winter are:
- Check your boiler and heating system – if you haven’t done so already, have your annual boiler check or service by a Gas Safe registered plumber.
- Roof tiles – replace any cracked, missing or loose tiles. If a roof is poor condition, high winds, or the weight of snow, can prove to be hazardous.
- Don’t switch off the central heating – set the central heating to a minimum of 14 degrees Celsius throughout the winter. This can stop pipes freezing and avoid frost damage.
- Repair your chimney – check for cracks around chimney pots and at the roof join and look out for loose render – for example, render that has come away from the stack. Making sure chimneys are stable will prevent high winds and heavy rain from damaging them further.
- Windows – untreated wood can expand and rot in extreme temperatures and wet weather. Check the condition of your window frames, filling cracks and painting where necessary.
- Insulation – to prevent pipes freezing and bursting, lag pipes and water tanks in exposed areas such as lofts, garages and utility rooms.
- Guttering and drains – remove any debris such as leaves, mud and stones, which could can cause a blockage.
- Walls – check the pointing in brickwork on your property, all outbuildings and garden walls for any loose render or areas that are in need of repair.