Prepare your home for the colder months

1. Assess your outside security

With the last of the warm evenings behind us, now is the time to take in the garden furniture before it becomes damaged by the cold and damp. If you are storing expensive items in outdoor sheds, make sure locks are adequate and consider installing security lights to deter thieves.
According to recent data from Halifax, the average claim for garden theft is £337. However, most home insurers impose a cap on the total value of items stored in out houses, which can start from as little as £250. If you intend to store high value items outside your main home, call your insurer and check you are not exceeding its particular limit.
Cyclist enthusiasts should be especially wary as insurers can apply individual caps to cover for bikes. Although this can extend up to £500, it can start from as little as £150. If your bike is top-of-the-range it may need to be declared separately or even covered by a standalone specialist bike insurer, such as Cycleguard, which covers bikes worth up to £7,000.
2. Review your buildings and contents cover

According to figures published by Sainsbury’s Finance, one in five (20%) of its personal loans taken during the first half of 2010 were used solely to fund home improvements.
If you have carried out renovations to your home during the summer months, autumn is the time to check that the buildings insurance you have in place to protect it, is adequate. You can get an idea of what level of cover you will need at the Association of British Insurers’ calculator.
It’s almost always cheaper to buy your buildings and contents insurance from the same insurer, so consider switching both to the cheapest provider by shopping online and comparing deals.
3. Drive down the cost of your car insurance

UK insurers coughed up £650 million against 335,000 separate claims, at the start of this year, following the UK’s eighth coldest winter on record. No wonder then that the cost of car insurance has rocketed by 32% over the last six months, according to new research from
Get ahead of this autumn and seek out the cheapest motor cover for your circumstances – before the colder weather pushes you back into your car. Bear in mind however, that your insurer could charge a fee if you are still within contract, so you will have to factor this into any saving you make.
4.  Switch to a cheaper energy supplier

If temperatures plunge well below zero again this winter, you will be paying through the nose for your heating. This makes now the right time to switch onto the cheapest energy tariff.
According to regulator, Ofgem, more than four million people switched energy providers last year, cutting their annual bill by an average of £150.
5. Use vouchers for indoor activities

Summer is cheaper than winter on more levels than energy usage. Picnics in the parks, games of football and walks in the forest all cost nothing but are often weather-dependent.
But when you are forced back inside for leisure activities, including restaurants, cinemas and shopping centres, make sure you are not spending more than you need to. There are a whole host of vouchers available from websites such as, which will all soften the blow of winter – and its associated costs.