“We may be experiencing the mildest November for 25 years, with half the rainfall we’d usually expect at this time of year, but there is no room for complacency” says Peter Smits, Managing Director of Hertfordshire-based Ashbourne Insurance.
Whilst we’re currently enjoying unseasonably warm weather, and as yet there is no sign of any significant drop in temperatures, forecasters are predicting below average temperatures and heavy snowfall across many parts of the UK later in the winter, and you only have to cast your minds back to this time last year to remind yourself of the havoc that snow, ice and flood damage wreaked upon homes, cars, people and pets.
With Britain’s unpredictable weather likely to continue as winter approaches, Peter Smits believes that it pays to be prepared. He explains, “There are steps we advise all our customers to take to limit the potential of damage or accidents being caused by adverse weather. Everyone should check their home insurance as the consequences of having insufficient cover can be disastrous. Many basic online policies exclude home emergency cover which can mean expensive, unforeseen essential repair bills landing in customer’s laps. At Ashbourne, we’ve seen unprecedented levels of adverse weather claims over the last two winters, so we’ve pulled together a list of do’s and don’ts to help make sure your home is weather-proofed and your driving appropriate for the conditions’”Ashbourne’s top 12 tips for a warmer, safer winter:
Properly lag/put pipe jackets on all pipes to insulate them, and repair dripping taps and faulty ball valves to prevent freezing.
For buildings with a history of freezing, leave the heating set to run on constant at a low level in periods of very low temperatures.
Service heating systems annually.
If you’re going away, make sure the property is checked daily, or drain the water system entirely if you’re absent for long periods.
Check guttering for blockages – blocked drains create a backlog of water that can freeze in severe temperatures or cause problems with damp.
Secure any loose tiles and cut back any branches that could be blown loose in a storm and cause damage to surrounding property and/or vehicles.
Put garden furniture away - it’s meant for alfresco dining in the summer, not to be buried under six feet of snow!
Keep up-to-date with road conditions and follow guidance for only making necessary journeys.
Check tyres, battery, lights, wiper-blade condition and anti-freeze levels and carry de-icer in case locks freeze.
If warming up your car don’t leave it unattended with the keys in the ignition – believe it or not many cars are stolen this way each year by opportunist thieves.
Adapt your driving style to the conditions:Be smooth and gentle with steering and brakes and allow much longer braking distances than you would normally.