It pays to prepare your home for stormy and winter weather
According to Halifax Home Insurance, the average cost of a claim to repair burst and frozen pipes and water damage was just over £3,100 per incident last year.
David Rochester, head of underwriting, said: “Burst and frozen pipes are common in winter and repair costs can be expensive, particularly if water is left leaking for long periods.
It is important to know how to reduce the risk of it happening to you, and also what you should do to limit the subsequent damage if a pipe does burst.
Here are some tips:
Turn off the mains water supply
Turn the electricity off in areas affected by the leak via the fuse box. If substantial water damage has been sustained, the electrical supply should be turned off completely until a qualified electrician is able to inspect the electrical system and ensure it is safe
Drain the water system down by running all the cold taps
Any dripping water can be caught in buckets. If the ceiling starts to bulge, pierce a few small holes in it to let the water drain through
If water has been leaking for some time and the ceiling is bulging significantly, it may not be safe to enter the room
Turn off the central heating and immersion heater, and turn on the hot taps to help drain the water system
Contact your home insurer as soon as possible for further advice or to register a claim.
Stormy weather can also play havoc with homes. Last year the average cost of a claim for storm damage was around £900. Homeowners are advised to carry out a few simple checks to help protect their property this winter.
Keep the central heating set to at least 10 degrees to prevent pipes from freezing
Have your boiler serviced at least once a year by a GasSafe registered professional and have the central heating and gas fires checked to ensure they are working safely and efficiently
Check that the loft is insulated properly but also has adequate ventilation
Thicker curtains will help to keep more heat in the home.
Check the condition of the roof. Look for cracked or broken tiles, cracks in the chimney or problems with the pointing. If any repairs are needed, hire a professional roofing contractor to carry out the work as soon as possible
Clear the gutters and drain pipes of any leaves or debris that have built up in them to reduce the risk of blocks and overflows
Keep gates and outbuilding doors fastened securely and secure any other loose items
Check external light fittings are secure
Cut back low hanging branches that could cause damage in high winds or storms.
Keep a home emergency kit prepared in case of a winter emergency such as a severe snowstorm. This could include torches, spare bulbs and batteries, your home insurance documents, other emergency contact details, tinned food, warm clothing, blankets and a shovel
Listen to the radio or check online for regular updates on the weather or other emergency situations.
Halifax Home Insurance offers its customers a 24-hour Emergency Homeline.