Home owners urged to make winter property checks

| December 7, 2012
Home owners urged to make winter property checks

With a severe winter forecast, insurers are urging home owners to carry out checks on their properties.

Insurer Paymentshield estimates that only 45 per cent of home owners in Central England plan to check that their homes are ready to face the winter weather, while Northern Ireland homeowners are more prepared, with 75 per cent planning to carry put pre-winter checks and maintenance.

According to Sainsbury’s home insurance, damage to homes caused by severe weather has cost home owners £7.9 billion in repair bills over the past two years.

Across the UK, it is estimated that over 18 million UK home owners have yet to carry out basic maintenance such as having their boiler serviced, checking radiators, checking roof tiles, clearing guttering and ensuring that items stored outside are properly secured.

Although emergency repairs can be expensive, only one third of home owners have home emergency or insurance cover in place.

Over the past two years, 37 per cent of households have been affected by winter weather related problems, with the average repair bill costing £454.

Some of the main problems include broken boilers and frozen and burst pipes.

Last year, Lloyds TSB Home Insurance received 26,500 claims for burst and freezing pipes and 14,000 claims damage caused by wind.

Sainsbury’s Home Insurance has warned that many home owners could be inadequately insured as they often underestimate how much their possessions are worth.

It is estimated that the average cost of replacing household contents has increased 24 per cent over the past three years to £55,000.

Sainsbury’s has found that home owners typically estimate the cost of household contents at around £31,000 which could leave them underinsured by around £24,000.

Ben Tyte, Head of Sainsbury’s Home Insurance said: “Our homes contain everything from the necessary fixtures and fittings like carpets and curtains to our most prized possessions and gadgets, but many of us may not realise their true combined value.”

Customers who are underinsured may only receive the corresponding percent of a claim, so it is vital that the estimate is realistic.

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