Preparing Your Property for Winter

With the temperature set to drop this week it’s crucial you take steps to protect your property to avoid costly damage and claims.

According to the Association of British Insurers1 last year The Beast from the East and Storm Emma led to insurers paying out a record-breaking £194m in burst pipe claims in the first quarter of the year and a total of £361m when you include storm and flood claims. That was a massive 290% rise on the previous quarter and was made up of 86,000 individual claims!

Sometimes claims are unavoidable however there are a few steps that property owners can take to hopefully avoid the disruption that these kind of claims can bring. Here are 4 tips that may help:

1. Maintenance

The old saying ‘prevention is better than the cure’ rings particularly true here. Carry out routine building inspections to identify potential issues before they happen. Pay attention to roofs, gutters and drains to prevent leaks and blockages. Also ensure heating systems have been correctly serviced.

2. Water & Heating

Even if a property is unoccupied it is essential that heating systems are left running to prevent freezing. Many of the claims for burst pipes during the Beast from the East were caused by external pipes freezing so make sure any exposed pipes are adequately lagged to avoid freezing, it’s also a good idea to insulate or fully drain outdoor taps.

3. Sprinkler Systems

If your property benefits from a sprinkler system it’s crucial that there is heating present in the valve room and it’s kept at an ambient temperature. You should also check when it was last serviced and whether the manufacturer recommends any specific winter proofing procedures.

4. Permanently Unoccupied Properties

Finally if your property is permanently unoccupied, we recommend disconnecting the property’s water supplies and draining all pipes, tanks and heating system. However, if only temporarily unoccupied, heating systems should always be left on, to maintain an ambient temperature and avoid freezing or cracking.

If you do need to claim our claims team are on hand to help!