Every year thousands of homes are badly affected by winter weather, in many cases the inconvenience, distress and cost caused by damage can be prevented.
Aviva’s Technical Consultant Pat Payne explains the simple steps you can take to reduce the chance of your home being damaged by winter weather.
What can you do to keep your house in a good condition through winter?
It’s worthwhile carrying out a 10 or 15 minute visual inspection of your property every year. It costs nothing but a little bit of time and it’s very easy to see if something doesn’t look right – for example if there is a slipped slate or missing tile on your roof, plant life growing out of your gutters or a rotted fence or leaning wall.
Using binoculars or a camera with zoom can help you get a better view of areas you might not be able to see from the ground, and will save you the trouble of going up ladders.
That can all be done at no cost at all and will give you the opportunity to call in a tradesman or carry out maintenance works to prevent damage.
It’s just like a home MOT really – we all have an MOT and service on our cars and it’s just applying the same concept to looking after your home.
See how to carry out your own winter home health check here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=H956kNDl_EI#t=38
What should you do if your home is affected by the winter weather?
You should contact us as soon as possible (or your home insurer if you are not currently with Aviva) if you suffer damage that is likely to be subject to a claim.
Our call centres are open 24 hours a day and can find our ‘useful contact numbers’ here (other insurers will provide something similar).
It’s also worthwhile having a read through and reviewing your policy. If you’re unsure about anything, call us (or other insurer) for clarification on what cover you have in place, as you may find that additional cover can be added to protect anything that’s not covered as standard.
Where can people go for more guidance on preparing their homes for winter?
There are a number of sites you can go to for more information, and there is a particularly good one called Maintain Your Building. It’s got some great articles about damp, maintenance on your roof, gutters and drains and how to do a 10 minute home MOT.
There is also a lot of other content on the Aviva website including videos on YouTube.
Pat’s top five winter weather advice sites:
Preparing for storm weather: www.aviva.co.uk/news-and-guides/severe-weather-advice/how-deal-gale-damage/
Preventing damp: www.youtube.com/watch?v=2l24ZiwNGdM#t=145
How to prepare for a flood: www.aviva.co.uk/news-and-guides/severe-weather-advice/what-do-during-flood/
How to protecting your home in cold weather: www.aviva.co.uk/news-and-guides/severe-weather-advice/looking-after-your-home-cold-weather/
Guide to preventing fires in the home: www.youtube.com/watch?v=yo2_3C53D7w
These checks and repairs don’t cost a great deal of time, effort or money but they can prevent a lot of expense in the long run. So put a date in your diary to do a visual health check of your home. The most important thing, though, is to get into a habit of doing maintenance checks every year.