As the clocks go back this weekend, the Association of British Insurers is reminding home and business owners to make sure their property is winter ready.
Insurers pay out £14.3 million to home and business owners each day to repair properties and replace contents damaged by bad weather such as flooding, storms and burst pipes. However, building and contents insurance is not a maintenance contract and you need to ensure that your property is in a good state of repair. This should help prevent damage being caused and ensure that, if the worst happens, your claim will be as smooth as possible.
The ABI has issued some top tips to ensure your property is ready for bad winter weather:
- Know where your stopcock is and make sure it works.
- Make sure your roof is in reasonable repair and there are no broken, loose or dislodged tiles. Don’t put yourself at risk, and if in doubt get in a professional.
- Check for damp patches or smells as it could be a sign of a more serious issue.
- Check your gutters are clear and that water flows freely through them.
- Check any conservatory or extension for leaks.
- Check your smoke alarm battery
- Insulate pipes and water tanks. If they are already, check the insulation is in good condition.
If you need to claim:
- Make sure you are aware of what your policy covers. Accidental damage, personal possessions outside of the home and freezer contents are usually added extras. If you are not sure if you are covered, speak to your insurer.
- Understand what excesses your policy has, this is the first part of the claim that you have to pay for, so make sure you can afford to pay that amount if you need to claim.
- Make sure you have proof of ownership and/or evidence of valuable items you may claim for, this could be through photographs and receipts.
- Speak to your insurer as soon as possible if you need to claim, and they will be able to advise on next steps. Most insurers have 24-hour help lines.
Laura Hughes, Manager of General Insurance at ABI, said:
“Every winter insurers come to the aid of thousands of home and business owners whose properties fall victim to damage by storms, floods and burst pipes. However, property insurance isn’t a maintenance contract and you won’t be covered for wear and tear, so make sure that your home or business is ready for bad winter weather.
“Carrying out regular checks around your home or business will not only reduce the likelihood of having to make a claim, but will also ensure any troublesome issues, like a leaky roof, are fixed before they cause major problems. Ignoring serious issues will only damage your property further and likely cause you further problems later on.”
Consumers can visit Insurance Experiments to find out more information about what building and contents insurance covers.