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WEATHER PROTECTION

Most home insurance policies will protect you to some degree against damage caused by the weather, if, that is, the damage is not as a result of a lack of maintenance on your part. Still, no one wants to have to claim on their insurance policy, and there are a few measures that you can take to reduce the risk of suffering weather damage.

Probably the most common type of weather damage to houses is flooding. At the time of a flood anything that can be removed should be taken to the upper floors, and, if possible, nothing should be excluded. You should make sure that all your important personal documents, particularly anything related to your insurance policy and essential contacts should be moved somewhere safe and dry. You should also turn off your gas, electricity and water at the mains, which may make it impossible to remain in your house, but will also help to reduce the impact of damage.

Another common problem in the winter is frozen tanks or pipes, this can lead to such tanks and pipes bursting and then subsequently leaking water into the house. This is often experienced when people take winter holidays, leaving their house for weeks at a time. First of all, ensure that all your pipes and tanks in the loft are fully insulated, and where possible that your loft insulation is over ten centimetres thick and secured into place.

If you are going to leave your house for a period of time, leave the heating on a low setting, you may also want to open any loft hatches that you may have to allow warm air from the lower house to circulate into other parts of the house and keep the pipes warm.

If you should be unfortunate enough to have the water in the pipes freeze, the first action should be to turn off the water at the stopcock this will prevent any more water coming into the pipes and causing a potentially dangerous build up of pressure. The next thing to do is open the tap closest to the frozen part of the pipe and if you can access it start to heat the pipe at the point closest to the tap with a hairdryer or a hot water bottle. Do not use intense forms of heating as this may well put stress on the pipe with a rapid change of water pressure.

Should the pipes happen to burst, turn off the water at the main stop valve and switch off the central heating. Open all the taps in your house to give the opportunity to drain excess water out of the system as quickly and easily as possible. If you find that water is causing the ceiling to bulge or swell, pierce the plaster to let the water through.

Most companies will pay you for any damage that you do happen to suffer, particularly if you can demonstrate that you have done everything in your power to fix the problem. You should bear in mind that if you have a problem that may take some money to fix, do it immediately in case the problem gets any worse. Home insurance is a valuable form of protection, especially if you happen to live in an area at high risk of extreme weather conditions.



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