Before winter sets in it is worth making sure you that you are prepared for any bad weather over the coming months. Severe weather can impact both homes and businesses and with darker evenings, driving can also be hazardous as vision is reduced, making it harder to see road signs and other road users.
Going into the winter months, it doesn't hurt to make preparations to protect against severe weather, like floods or icy conditions. Here are some top tips to help you plan ahead and prepare for when the weather starts to turn.
With “frosting thefts” a continual threat, BIBA (The British Insurance Broker Association) urge motorists to take care to check their cover. Those who leave their cars with the engine warming up to defrost the windscreen may not be covered if an opportunistic thief steals the car.
• Most motor insurance policies have a specific “keys in car “or “vehicle left unattended” clause and exclude claims in these circumstances.
• In addition, there will be a ‘reasonable care’ clause, whereby the insurer may reject a claim on the grounds of the policyholder being ‘reckless’ in not safeguarding the vehicle.
In extreme weather conditions, drivers are urged to avoid travelling by road wherever possible, but to take appropriate steps if driving is the only option: wrap up warmly, take a blanket, spade, torch, food and drink and a mobile phone, and tell someone what time you expect to complete your journey. Also, check your tyre tread depths to ensure the best grip possible in difficult conditions. Where possible, leave the car in a garage overnight.
Ensure vulnerable pipe work is lagged or isolated as there are thousands of burst pipe claims every winter that cause misery to homeowners when water escapes into their properties. These losses are easily preventable. General maintenance of properties should be kept up to date to ensure claims are minimised – flat roofs, guttering and drains requiring particular attention.
As temperatures drop and the colder months approach, it is important to keep chimneys in check to prevent a house fire. Wood burning or multi-fuel stoves, which reach high temperatures, can also increase the risk of fire with thatched properties, as they send more live sparks and embers out of the chimney.
You should also avoid burning waste paper on the fire and ensure that you only burn seasoned, correctly stored hardwood and use the stove according to manufacturer instructions. Chimneys should be routinely checked or surveyed to ensure that they are structurally sound; your chimney should be swept by a professional chimney sweep at least twice a year if it is in use frequently or all year round.
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