26 November 2015

Prepare your home for winter

As the festive season approaches, it’s the perfect time to prepare your home for colder weather. Simple steps to protect your home can help to prevent an emergency from disrupting your winter break and denting your bank balance.

“When you consider that, according to a recent article by the Association of British Insurers, the average burst pipe creates damage that costs in the region of £6,500 to £7,500, it’s worth checking certain areas in your home,” says Nationwide Senior Product Manager Darren Black. “It’s easy to defend your home against ‘escape of water’, which is the most common reason for making a home insurance claim in the coldest months, as it is for many other types of damage,” he points out.

The home insurance expert shares some of his top tips to avoid weather-related woes this winter. Implementing a few cost-effective measures now could save you a significant financial outlay later — and could help to make sure you keep your household protected in stormy weather.

Your winter home insurance checklist

Home insulation improvements

When water freezes in a confined space such as a pipe, it expands and causes damage. Insulating pipes and tanks exposed to lower temperatures can help prevent this from happening.

Some areas of your home are more likely to benefit from insulation, such as:

  • your mains water pipe, especially where it travels from your house to the water tanks in your roof space
  • your roof space
  • outdoor pipes.

Service your heating system

Faults in heating and hot water systems often emerge when they are switched on as temperatures plunge. To mitigate the risk of pipes freezing, you could leave your heating system on for part of the day, even when you are away from home. Make use of any timer systems to pre-program when the heating should come on and for how long.

Avoid having to shiver after a cold shower by servicing your boiler and central heating before the cold weather rolls in.

Maintain your house

Keep your property in a good state of repair to reduce the likelihood that something might go wrong. Small DIY jobs can prevent big problems. For example, re-sealing baths and showers is an obvious way to stop water seepage as is replacing missing roof tiles.

Even keeping up routine household chores, like clearing leaves and other debris from gutters so that rainwater can flow freely away from your property, play a role in reducing the risk of a costly property problem.

As Black emphasises: “Prevention is better than cure, so check your home for problems before winter sets in.”

Cover your assets

It’s not always possible to prevent something going wrong. Home emergency cover can help to deal with the immediate emergency.

Your home insurance is there to cover the cost of repairing damage caused by common disasters, like floods, fires and storms.

“Home Emergency cover includes being able to call upon an approved professional tradesperson who can help you to manage your immediate emergency and limit the damage,” adds Black.

Nationwide offers comprehensive cover for your home this winter. Find out more

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