Winter can be a challenging time thanks to increasingly extreme weather in the UK. Although snow, high winds and heavy rain are not entirely new, as a country we often seem to be taken by surprise by freezing cold or wet conditions. And there is, inevitably, fallout as a result of a lack of preparation - last year saw the Beast from the East drive up insurance claims by more than 290%. So what can be done to get you ready for the next time the bad weather comes?
Learning the lessons of the Beast from the East
Last year’s extreme February Freeze had some fairly significant repercussions for businesses, individuals and insurers alike. £194 million was paid out to help people deal with burst pipes in 2018, for example, and insurers paid out a total of £1.25 billion to those with domestic and commercial property insurance policies. This was the highest quarterly figure for two years.
The increase in claims was also significant when judged against the previous quarter when 29,000 claims were made. 86,000 claims were made in the first quarter of the year when the February Freeze really hit, more than double the quarter before. The biggest lesson to learn is that the British weather is now no joke. Whether you believe in climate change or not, these extreme conditions are something that take some preparing for.
Getting ready for Round 2
The unpredictable nature of the British weather means that we very often don’t see extreme weather coming. Forecasters may warn us but many still head out in cars or don’t take steps to protect people and possessions, often assuming that it probably won’t be as serious as it seems. However, given the expense and inconvenience involved in dealing with the aftermath of a big freeze, it makes much more sense to opt for an approach of prevention rather than cure. So, how can you prepare for bad weather spells?
Look for potential hazards
Perfectly innocent tree branches or pathways can become hazardous in snowfall. So, it’s worth trimming back trees that could dump snow and damage roofs and taking steps to make hazardous areas safe, such as investing in a grit bin for a sloping driveway.
Hope for the best but plan for the worst
Make sure you have supplies in case you get snowed in and a way to stay warm if your heating breaks down. Prepare for potential burst pipes by making sure you know how to find the stopcock and turn the water off.
Maintain your home in readiness for snow
Clear out gutters so that debris won’t cause issues and deal with any roofing problems, such as broken tiles etc well before a cold snap hits.
Re-do the insulation
Good insulation will help preserve heat, keep your home warm and reduce the pressure on your heating system. It can also cut the cost of your monthly bills.
Service the boiler
A well looked after boiler is much less likely to break down or cause problems at an inconvenient time so get it serviced regularly.
Preparing for a big freeze is a good idea – given the unpredictable British weather the next one could be just around the corner.
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