Time to prepare the home before the winter cold snap

As we head into winter, M&S Bank is urging homeowners to utilise the milder December temperatures and ensure their home is in a good state of repair. This comes after research revealed that a third of homeowners (33 per cent) admit to not carrying out any basic maintenance to protect their home against weather related damage each year.

While the M&S Bank research showed that the majority of homeowners understood that with most home insurance policies it is their responsibility to ensure the property is in a good state of repair (77 per cent) – a fall of six per cent on 2014 – 15 per cent haven’t undertaken any basic home maintenance measures in the last 12 months.

Therefore it’s not surprising that the number of winter weather related claims rejected due to a lack of general maintenance is increasing and has more than doubled since 2011 .

More than three in five (64 per cent) homeowners said they have not checked for loose roof tiles, while 44 per cent hadn’t cleared gutters – two basic maintenance measures – in the last 12 months.

Paul Stokes from M&S Bank, said: “Regularly carrying out maintenance on the home, even basic tasks such as checking for things like loose tiles, cleaning chimneys and clearing gutters, can help prevent damage from occurring, and should the worst happen, ensure a claim is valid.”

If leaving their home for an extended period of time over the winter months, more than half (51 per cent) said they wouldn’t keep their home’s central heating at a minimum temperature, while more than one in ten (12 per cent) wouldn’t take any precautions to prepare their home.  

Paul Stokes added: “It’s also important to remember that preventative measures, such as keeping your home at a minimum temperature when away during the winter months, could help to avert damage caused as a result of winter weather.”

Follow Paul’s top tips for preparing your home for winter:
·        Check  your  roof  for  loose tiles that could be dislodged in heavy wind
·        Keep  your gutters cleared of leaves to avoid blockages
·        Prune trees close to the home to prevent branches snapping
·        Check plants growing up the side of the house are not growing into the brickwork
·        Remove any hosepipes that may still be attached and isolate the outdoor taps to help prevent frozen pipe damage
·        Get chimneys swept and clear of debris that could start a fire
·        Insulate pipes and leave heating on a low setting at all times in freezing conditions

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