Insurance Matters – November 2010

Well the year is flashing past and it is November already, this is a time when you have to look after your property to ensure that it survives the winter onslaught.

We had the hardest and longest winter in 30 years last winter that caused a record number of domestic household claims with burst pipes, water leaks and general water damage.

You need to be prepared, as there are some claims that are just not covered under your household policy!…. damage caused by ‘lack of maintenance and repair’ being the most common repudiation of claims.

Just because your flat roof leaks as a result of heavy rain, or that water seeps through your walls as a result of a damaged or blocked rainwater pipe, does not mean that your insurers will consider this to be a valid claim!

To protect yourselves from this potential and common damage, it is easy to prevent by taking the following measures:-
– Ensure that all fallen leaves are cleared from gutters, drains and that the drain pipe is clear at the roof level. Some people put a tennis balls in the top of their drain pipes to stop the debris falling down the pipes and they rise when the water level in the gutter rises, however, more often than not they get stuck! This causes more damage to the property than it prevents.
– Ensure that all outside taps are turned off from an isolator in the property, or wrapped on the outside with insulation, as simply as a carrier bag full of newspaper to stop the water in the tap and pip from freezing in low temperatures.
– Ensure that the lagging of pipes in loft areas are in place and in good order, especially if you have loft area insulation which will lower the temperature in the loft area and may in cold weather cause the pipes to freeze and burst.
– If you have a flat roof, you should ensure that it is maintained in good order and inspected on a regular basis, the average life of a normal felt flat roof is 15 years, so if it does need replacing, then you should consider doing this and perhaps using the newer plastic coverings that are now available that have a ‘lifetime’ guarantee.
– Ensure that paths and decking is kept clean of algae and leaves, as slips do occur and visitors with visitor coming onto your premises, you should take care of their safety.
– Fireworks!! Be really careful when you set off fireworks from your premises, have consideration to your property and those around you, particularly where you are close to Thatched Properties.
– Chinese Lanterns, these are especially dangerous in an area where there are a number of Thatched and non standard construction buildings. DO NOT USE THEM. The fuel that is carried by them is enough to set a property alight if it should land on them.

We hope that this information is of use to you, and that you enjoy November and the firework festivities, and look forward to a claim free Christmas ahead.

Highhouse Insurance will be more than willing to give Free Advice and guidance on property insurance, just call us directly on 0845 230 1477 and speak to us.