Here at VPS247, we do a lot of work with major home insurance companies operating in the UK and during the winter months our workload tends to rise considerably. This is because we will attend properties which have sustained damage due to attempted break-ins (which unfortunately become more common in the darker months of the year) and through poor weather. Winter storms have had a big impact on the UK in recent years, with one of the most memorable being the storm which ravaged the country in February 2014. Down in the south west of the country, the rough seas washed away a supporting sea wall for the Dawlish railway line, cutting off most of Devon and all of Cornwall from the rest of the country. You may have seen the footage at the time, which showed the railway swinging above a rough sea while the waves continued to batter properties along the seafront, damaging garage doors, windows and low-level roofs.
Although poor weather is entirely out of our collective hands, it’s worth considering the risks to your property so that you can be prepared for all eventualities. We advise keeping an eye on the weather forecast and taking heed of any weather warnings in your area, as there are some preventative steps you can take in order to lessen the chances of damage to your home.
If high winds are forecast for your area, it may be worth doing a check of your whole property to ensure all doors and windows are closed and secured properly. Anything in your garden or surrounding outdoor space which could be blown about by the wind (this includes garden furniture, hanging baskets and trampolines) should be secured down or brought inside to minimise the risk of damage to your doors and windows. If you have enough time, check surrounding trees and bushes to ensure there is no dead wood or rot which may be a risk factor. It can be surprising just how strong the wind can be, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry in this instance.
Snow and ice can cause problems for many people across the country, but the focus is usually on how it affects road users, rather than the impact it can have on your home. In very serious snow, where a lot falls in a short space of time, the sheer weight of it can cause problems for properties with older conservatories, as the roof may not be able to hold the extra weight. Ice also causes problems, particularly if water is freezing in the gaps in your brickwork surrounding windows and doors. As water freezes into ice, it expands and can therefore make the crack or gap bigger, putting your home at risk of more serious issues. Ensure your home is cold-proof by ensuring all roof sections are in good order and by filling in any gaps in brickwork or rendering in order to prevent worsening issues.
Many homes in the UK are susceptible to flooding, especially those in low-lying areas, those near to waterways and properties which are situated in valleys and at the bottom of hills. Properties which are located on flat land with very little tree cover may also be prone to flooding, as trees soak up a tremendous amount of water and their absence can make a big difference. Flooding can damage your home in many ways – some taking years to recover from and rectify. If you have received a flood warning, then it’s important that steps are taken to protect your home and your belongings. Sandbags are effective at preventing water from entering your home as long as you can obtain enough of them in time. If you are able, moving your electrical items and furniture from the ground floor to the first floor (or, if you live on one floor only, raising everything up by a few inches to protect it from the water) will protect your belongings and make the clean-up operation much easier to handle.
Here at Evander we have already fixed a lot of damage which has been caused by large hailstones this year and we anticipate them continuing to be an issue as we move into the very last part of 2015. Very large hailstones can become extremely weighty when falling from the sky, and as such can cause a huge amount of problems when they reach the ground. Some hailstones may bounce and cause glazing to smash or crack, whereas others may fall straight downwards and damage older and more flimsy conservatory roofs.
Bring prepared is only half the battle – when it comes to the weather, there is obviously a layer of unpredictability which cannot be overcome. The most important thing is to keep yourself and your family safe, so if you are expecting bad weather, take as many precautions as you can and ensure you are well covered under your home insurance policy.
If your home has been damaged by adverse weather, give us a call on 0345 145 0130 today.