With a harsh winter predicted and freezing temperatures on the way, Lloyds TSB Home Insurance is advising householders to give their properties a winter health check.
Last year, the insurer handled 26,500 burst and frozen pipe claims which cost over £39 million to put right, and over 14,000 windstorm damage claims that cost over £5 million to fix. Advice from Lloyds is as follows:
Check the condition of the roof.
Clear the gutters and drain pipes of any leaves or debris that have built up.
Keep gates and outbuilding doors fastened securely and secure any other loose items.
Check external light fittings are secure.
Cut back low hanging branches that could cause damage in high winds or storms.
Have your boiler serviced at least once a year by a GasSafe registered professional and have the central heating and gas fires checked.
Check that the loft is insulated properly but also has adequate ventilation.
Thicker curtains will help to keep more heat in the home.
Keep the central heating set to at least 10 degrees to prevent pipes from freezing.
In an emergency:
Keep a home emergency kit prepared in case of a winter emergency such as a severe snowstorm.
This could include torches, spare bulbs and batteries, your home insurance documents, other emergency contact details, tinned food, warm clothing, blankets and a shovel.
Listen to the radio or check online for regular updates on the weather or other emergency situations.