March 13, 2012 05:00 ET

Protecting Your Property This Winter

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - March 13, 2012) - Despite last year being one of the coldest winters on record - with average temperatures across the UK of just -1ºC - fewer and fewer people are taking precautions to protect their home. Whilst the weather in November and December 2011 was unseasonably mild, heavy snow across the UK in early February and a forecast of more sub-zero temperatures to come, remind us that the worst of the British winter could strike at any time.

Last winter, 3 million Britons were victims of weather damage, and despite last year's severe temperatures, new research by Direct Line Home Insurance has discovered that over half of 18-34 year olds have made no effort to protect their home this year. Londoners have made the least effort to ensure their property is winter-safe, with 50% of them still not having prepared for the threat of freezing winter.

According to warnings by AXA Home Insurance, one in a thousand people have fallen victim to burst pipes in the last two years, with average claims reaching a massive £25,000. Their statistics show that during the freezing winters of the last two years, 'escape of water claims' escalated by around 50%, leaving tens of thousands of homeowners facing the misery of damaged or destroyed property, and a total insurance bill of £1bn. Data showed that as temperatures dropped over the last two years, an escape of water claim was 3 times more likely than a theft claim, and 13 times more likely than an incident of fire. Whilst many consumers hugely underestimate the potential cost of a burst pipe - 83% estimating it would cost less than £5k, 93% that it would cost less than £10k - the average contents and buildings claims were, in reality, £6,100 and £19,200 respectively. For those without insurance, the cost is likely to be far greater than the sum of savings available. Property remains the single largest purchase that most of us will ever make, and there seems little sense in not looking after it.

Before another snap of snow and sub-zero temperatures sets in, it's sensible to spend a little on active property maintenance. Many firms offer a comprehensive service, including drain jetting and repair and general repair that could help prevent any future weather damage. The one-off, upfront cost - cheaper than the excess on an insurance policy should the worst happen - offers peace of mind, and security in the knowledge that the misery and disruption of weather damage has been avoided. In cases such as this, it pays to be prepared and to protect your greatest investment.

Contact Information

  • Sutherland House
    Maple Road, SURBITON, Surrey
    KT6 4BJ
    020 8481 2200
    020 8481 2288 (FAX)