Brits are bracing themselves for possible storm damage this weekend, with gale force winds and torrential rain expected should hurricanes Maria and Lee reach our shores.
The two former Atlantic hurricanes are making their way towards Britain and are expected to reach the South West by the end of the week.
As a result, UK home insurance provider, Policy Expert is warning that the extreme weather could result in millions of pounds worth of damage.
One in 10 Brits has already made a claim for storm damage, including damage to roofs, fences, outbuildings as well as burst pipes, with the average claim a costly £905.
The research also found that a significant number of homeowners would not know what to do in an emergency and underestimated the cost of subsequent repairs. A worrying 14% confessed they would not know what to do if they suffered a burst water pipe and thought it would cost in the region of £63 an hour to call out an emergency plumber, yet the actual cost is likely to be closer to £90.
While your home insurance policy will cover some costs, Adam Powell, head of operations at Policy Expert warns that it may not always provide the expected level of cover. He says: “It’s essential people are aware of the potential costly damage a storm could throw at them this winter. Cold and stormy weather can ravage buildings and pipes so we would urge all homeowners not only to protect their homes but to invest a bit of time and money in ensuring they have the correct level of home insurance.
“For example, check the small print – some policies may not cover sheds and outbuildings, and others won’t cover damaged boilers if they haven’t been seen by a registered plumber. It’s also important to remember that your home insurance policy isn’t a maintenance policy. If a problem has been caused or exaggerated by general wear and tear, or poor upkeep of your property, it’s highly likely you won’t be covered – so make sure you’re taking the necessary precautions just in case.”
How to prepare your home for winter
Policy Expert has the following tips to protect your home:
- Check your boiler and get it serviced by a registered Gas Safe Plumber.
- Look for cracked, missing or loose roof tiles and replace if necessary.
- Keep your central heating on low to prevent pipes freezing and bursting.
- Check your chimney, looking for cracks around pots and the roof join.
- Treat and paint wooden window sills to prevent water and frost damage.
- Lag pipes and water tanks to prevent them freezing and bursting.
- Check the pointing on the brickwork on your house, outbuildings and garden walls looking for loose stone and areas that are in need of repair.
- Get an electrician to check your fuse box and wiring if they haven’t been inspected in a while as they can be a major source of insurance claims.