After enjoying the seventh warmest October since records began, and what may also be an unseasonably warm November, it’s all too easy to forget that now is the ideal time to prepare for the frost, snow and storms this winter may bring. Reviewing insurance policies now and by taking a few relatively simple precautions around your home and garden could help you avoid the need to submit a claim.
Weather is the single most common cause of insurance claims, with 22 per cent being made as a direct result of broken or leaking pipes, as well as damage to properties as a result of floods, storms or fallen trees. Barclays own data has shown that during last year’s winter, the darker evenings led to an 18 per cent increase in claims for burglaries and thefts.
It is not only properties that will feel the effects of the winter; many individuals will experience injuries as a result of adverse weather conditions. Some of the most common causes of personal accident claims are trips and falls on icy or uneven surfaces resulting in fractures to wrists, ankles and legs. Dislocations to joints also account for significant causes of claims.
Kieran Murphy, Managing Director of Barclays Insurance said: “We are encouraging homeowners to make sure they have adequate insurance and have tackled the general maintenance in both the home and garden before winter sets in. Preparing for the onset of winter and reviewing home and personal accident insurance policies now, will help reassure that you have sufficient and suitable insurance cover.”
There are some very simple checks that can be done now around the home and garden to avoid damage and possible claims.
Avoiding damage to pipes
- Replace washers on dripping taps and know where the stopcock is and how to shut it off in case a pipe does burst.
- Remove fallen leaves away to prevent guttering, pipes and drains becoming blocked and splitting due to frost.
- When going on a holiday for some winter sunshine or short break, in case of very cold days, leaving the loft trap door open will allow a little heat in. Barclays Insurance Services recommends central heating thermostats are set to a minimum of 12 degrees to prevent pipes freezing and leaking.
- Heat loss can also be an issue. Checking the seals on doors, windows and letter boxes will also help to reduce heat loss as overheating can cause the pump in the boiler to shut down. It may also cause the thermostat to shut the boiler down altogether.
Avoiding damage to the property
- Ensure the guttering is secure and check for any loose roof tiles, chimney pots and fences.
- Check that the trees around the home and in the garden are strong and healthy. If trees have become overgrown, it is worth calling in a local tree surgeon to clip then back and check they are healthy.
- To avoid vermin nesting in the loft, make sure tree branches around the home do not over hang on to the roof.
- If storms or strong winds are expected, make sure any free standing furniture, objects or hanging baskets are stored in the shed or porch.
- Properties with open fires should ensure their chimney(s) have been swept and obtain a certificate stating that the chimney(s) has been swept in accordance with the Code of Practice of the National Association of Chimney Sweeps.
Avoiding personal injury
- Clear paths and driveways of moss and leaves to prevent surfaces becoming slippery.
- Investing in a snow shovel and salt will make leaving the home easier and safer
Barclays Insurance offers a range of products including; comprehensive home insurance, life, motor, travel, health and business insurance, available both in branch and online. For further details please go to www.barclays.co.uk/insurance
Barclays Insurance provides a flexible home insurance package. Customers can choose to add or remove a number of features, building a policy with only the cover needed. Customers taking out Barclays buildings and contents insurance1 will receive half-price contents cover 2, a 10 per cent combined policy discount plus an average 25 per cent online discount3.
A further feature of Barclays Home Insurance is the automatic increase in contents cover of £3,000 to cover religious festivals, to cover food and gifts bought for the festive period.