Winter-proof your home
To most of us winter conjures up cozy images of snuggling up on the couch with a movie and a warm beverage. However, from an insurance point of view, winter presents a number of insurance risks that may cause damage to your home.
INSIDE YOUR HOME
- It is important to check that your doors and windows are in good condition, or else cold air and water will be able to get into your home. It is best to carry out minor maintenance repairs as they are required, this will avoid major costly repairs later on.
- Gas heaters and electric blankets are excellent ways to keep warm on cold nights, but be careful not to put your gas heater too close to curtains or furniture. It’s also important not to leave your electric blankets on and unattended for too long. When using a gas heater, make sure the room is well ventilated to avoid a potentially dangerous build-up of gas in a confined space.
- If you have a fireplace in your home, be sure to extinguish the fire properly before you go to bed. Always put a grate in front of the fire to prevent sparks landing on your carpet or nearby furniture.
- We recommend using an insulated blanket on your geyser. This will extend the life of your geyser and save on electricity (up to 58% in some cases) as it retains the heat for much longer which reduces the number of heating cycles needed.
OUTSIDE YOUR HOME
As a homeowner, it is your duty to maintain your home and keep it in the best possible state of repairs. This is important as any damage that occurs due to a lack of maintenance could result in an unsuccessful insurance claim.
- Leaves and other debris left to clog up gutters can cause water damage and damp, so it’s important to clean out gutters before winter and after a heavy storm or windy period. Make sure your gutter junctions are watertight and your gutters are strong enough to withstand a winter storm.
- Check your roof for loose or cracked tiles before the rainy season starts and watch out for water leaking into your home. Cracked or missing tiles can cause water leaks, damp and eventually, rot. You also need to check that waterproofing around your home is adequate before the first rain.
- Keep all trees trimmed; this will go a long way towards avoiding possible hazards during a storm. A heavy storm can uproot entire trees, especially if the roots are weak or rotting. Heavy branches can break off and damage cars, roofs and gutters, or even injure a person.
- Do a thorough inspection of your pipes for any cracks or leaks and check for any vegetation that could cause damage to your outside pipes. If you live in a particularly cold area, burst pipes due to frozen water can be a hazard. Installing lagging over the pipes will keep them insulated and help prevent this from happening.
- Damaged steps and handrails can be very dangerous when slippery and wet. Such damage is a liability risk without the added hazard of rain, so it is best to repair these as soon as you notice they are damaged.
- Ensure that all windows, doors and features such as skylights are properly waterproofed and airtight. All cracks in the walls must be sealed in order to prevent water leaks or further serious damage.
Remember an insurance claim can be rejected if it is found that the homeowner neglected necessary maintenance. On-going maintenance is the most sensible way to keep your home safe and ensure any insurance claims are successful.