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Protecting your home against the elements

The elements may give your home a thorough battering, and you may be thinking of steps to take towards protecting your home.

If you are in any doubt, just ask the many thousands of people affected by flooding throughout northern England this winter.

According to a story in the Independent newspaper (January 2016), many of these are not only in the course of difficult negotiations with their insurance companies in search of compensation but also face the “double whammy” of those same companies rejecting claims in the future related to so-called “fracking” activity in the area.

This offers a timely warning about the devastating damage that might be caused by the elements – and the man-made threats of extraction and mining.

Specialist insurers

Flooding, or the major damage caused by subsidence in the wake of fracking, are just two examples of the need to enlist professional help and advice when arranging your home insurance.

Here at GSI Insurance we may be help you find those specialist insurers with greater flexibility when it comes to subsidence insurance or protection of your home in areas with a known risk of flooding.

If we are unable to identify insurers prepared to cover risks such as these, we nevertheless endeavour to quote a competitive rate for cover which has the least impact on any exclusion for such risks.

Defending your home

This winter is probably not done with us yet. So what are some of the defences you might still put in place for protecting your home against the worst loss or damage?

  • if the risk of flooding is imminent, move items of value to higher floors if possible, stock up on sandbags and consider other flood barriers that might help to protect ingress of water through doors and windows;
  • whilst keeping an eye on the rising waters at ground level, remember that storms frequently dislodge tiles and let the rain in from the roof, too – the present lull may offer the chance to get any loose tiles or slates put firmly into place;
  • looking up still, make sure that gutters are free of winter debris and that downpipes allow runoff water to drain away as quickly as possible;
  • water pipes outside, those in the roof and even those in exposed places inside need to be lagged to prevent their freezing in cold weather;
  • if you are planning to leave your home only temporarily unoccupied, you might want to keep the boiler turned on a low setting to provide a degree of background heat;
  • if you are planning to be away for longer, consider turning off all utilities, including the water, gas and electricity;
  • however long you might be planning to go away, if severe weather is threatening, it is a good idea to ask a neighbour or friend to check on your home from time to time. There are time limits to making a claim on your buildings insurance and if you are unable to say exactly what day the damage occurred, your claim may be compromised.

There is little doubt that your home takes a real hammering by the elements during the winter. A few simple precautions and adequate insurance may help to reduce the cost of expensive repairs and replacement of whatever is lost or damaged, especially after taking steps in protecting your home.

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