New research from Churchill Home Insurance showed that over three million Brits suffered damage to their homes in the winter freeze of 2010/2011.
The extreme winter weather that occurred between October 2010 and February 2011 damaged 6% of all homes in the UK. Worst affected were householders in Yorkshire and Humberside (14%) and the North East (12%), where twice as many properties were damaged than the national average.
Churchill Home Insurance saw a 45% increase in the number of home insurance claims for escape of water caused by issues such as burst and frozen pipes during winter 2010/ 2011 compared with the previous winter.
As the country shivered in the grip of the coldest winter weather on record, with average temperatures of -1C, the snow and freezing temperatures took their toll on people’s properties. Nationwide, over a third (35%) of householders who suffered damage to their property saw damage to their roof, while a third (33%) reported frozen or burst pipes.
People should plan for this winter
Martin Scott, head of Churchill Home Insurance, commented: ‘A huge number of people experienced damage to their homes last year, particularly as a result of escape of water caused by frozen and burst pipes. It’s essential to plan ahead to avoid potential problems.
‘Having home insurance in place will ensure you’re covered for damage caused by escape of water, but also consider taking out Home Emergency insurance to cover the cost of emergencies such as boiler repairs.’
Paul Davies, insurance analyst at Which?, added: ‘With successive cold winters, more people have experienced burst pipes and damage to their property. Preparing your house for the coming winter is essential, as is checking your home insurance policy to ensure that you’re fully covered, particularly if the house is unoccupied for any reason and warm water doesn’t regularly flow through the pipes.’
Tips to help homeowners
Churchill Home Insurance offered the following tips for homeowners:
- Prepare pipes for icy weather by insulating them with lagging
- Check to make sure your loft insulation is thick enough
- Find your main stopcock and make sure that you can turn it on and off
- If you have any taps that have a tendency to drip, now’s the time to fix them
- Try and insulate your home – fit draught proofing to any gaps in windows or doors and make sure wall cavities are well insulated
- If you’re away from home for a few days during the cold weather, keep your heating on at a low level – at about 15 degrees – throughout
- If your pipes do freeze, turn the water off, drain the system and leave the taps open
- A good way to thaw out frozen pipes is to carefully use a hairdryer (if safe to do so) or to use a hot water bottle tied to the pipes with a towel.
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