The fall of heavy snow experienced by the UK showed once again how vulnerable we are to adverse weather conditions. Households, in particular, can fall prey to emergencies such as frozen pipes which then turn into burst pipes, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage. Here at Higos we have put together some practical advice for homeowners to consider. Firstly, while household insurance covers emergencies such as burst pipes, it pays to try to prevent these occurrences rather than have to cope with the damage and disruption to home life that a simple burst pipe can cause. It is important, if you come home to a burst pipe, that you contact your insurance broker or insurance company straight away, as many now operate an emergency service and will get a local contractor out to you as quickly as possible. Insurers tend to prefer to use their own accredited contractors but if you want to use your own contractor make contact with your broker or insurer first to obtain authorisation. This can avoid costly complications further down the line. With more freezing weather on the way, here are a few simple precautions and tips to guard against and deal with household claims this winter. Conduct a winter maintenance check: * Check all pipework to ensure it is adequately lagged to prevent frozen pipes. Include the water tank too. This is particularly important if you have moved into a new home and you havent carried out a pipe check before. * New home owners should ensure any essential maintenance issues highlighted in the survey have been undertaken - especially if they may be made worse by adverse weather. * If you have an outside tap, which is exposed to winter weather, lag that too. * Check for dripping taps and fix them as these can freeze and block pipes. Prepare for the worst: * Know where your insurance policy is stored and the contact number for your insurance broker or insurer so, should an emergency occur, all relevant information is to hand. * Familiarise yourself with the location of your cut-off switches for your gas and electricity supplies, as well as the stopcock for the water supply. Make sure the stopcock can be turned off. * Modern boilers often have a frost protection thermostat and will turn on automatically if the temperature is low enough to cause pipes to freeze. With an older boiler it pays to keep the heating on low or set it to come on twice a day to maintain a reasonable level of warmth. * If you go away over Christmas keep the heating on low - it will help to open the loft door to allow warm air to circulate within the loft too. * Leave a telephone number with a neighbour so they can contact you in an emergency and if you are away for a length of time, have them check the house on a regular basis.
Household Tips To Protect Against Cold Weather