Come sunshine or rain, and at any time of the year, there is always good reason to be protecting your home against the weather. The damage which might be done by storms, freezing conditions or even droughts in summer time frequently result in structural damage This might cost you a substantial amount to repair, so adequate home insurance is likely to be the order of the day.
As the Met Office suggests, one of the greatest threats to your home when the big freeze comes is frozen water pipes.
Now is the time of year when you might want to start getting ready for any freezing weather this winter by making sure that all pipes – especially those on outside walls, in the attic and in unused or unheated rooms – are all properly lagged.
When the bad weather strikes, try to make sure that an ambient, background heat is maintained by putting on the central heating for at least parts of the day and regularly allowing the warm air to reach the loft by opening the hatch from time to time. Leaving the doors to unused room slightly ajar may also help the warm air to circulate in them, too.
From one extreme to another, the scorching heat and drought of a hot summer might also wreak havoc on your home.
The silent menace here is the kind of subsidence which might occur when the ground into which the foundations are dug dries out and contracts or is substantially disturbed by spreading tree roots. If the surrounding earth collapses, then so might your foundations suffer serious damage.
Here at GSI Insurance, we have published a more detailed guide to the dangers of subsidence, its likely causes, spotting the signs and some of the ways of avoiding it.
Not all insurance policies cover the risk of subsidence, however, so if the risks are a potential concern, you might want to check carefully the status of your current insurance cover.
Such are the vagaries of the English weather that flooding may occur at practically any time – although the risks are heightened of course in winter time, when as many as one in six properties in the UK is vulnerable to flood damage.
One of the searches you might want to do now is an assessment of the risk of flooding in your particular area. The Environment Agency publishes a number of scalable maps which you may use to home in on where you live and weigh up the potential risks from rivers or the sea, reservoirs or simply surface water run-off.
If you are looking for affordable insurance and you live a high flood risk area, you may be pleased to learn that we work with a number of Insurers who are participating in the Government-run Flood Re scheme – you can read more here: Flood Re.
Storms may strike at almost any time of the year, with practically little warning, so it pays to have taken defensive measures beforehand.
Your first line of defence for protecting your home lies in making sure that you keep the property in an overall state of good repair – paying particular attention to missing or broken slates or tiles on the roof, gutters, fascias and lead flashing.
Remember that any storm might bring with it the danger of lightening, which may cause power surges – or worse – if and when it strikes. A sensible precaution is to unplug all but the most essential electrical appliances to help in protecting your home.