The nights are drawing in and with colder weather just around the corner, it’s worth carrying out a few checks to ensure your property is properly prepared for winter.


Making a few changes here and there and ensuring everything is in good working order can make a real difference if we experience any extreme weather conditions this winter, and can also help protect your property against burglars.

Here’s our rundown of the checks every homeowner should make.

1) Boost your security

November and December are the worst months for burglaries, according to internal claims data from insurer Admiral, with a fifth of claims over the last seven years taking place during these months.

The darkest months (November to January), also see burglaries rise by 46% compared with the summer months (May to August). It’s therefore a good idea to check you have secure locks on all your windows and doors, as well as on any outbuildings you might have. If you’re going to be away for a while, set timer switches on lamps so that they turn on and off intermittently, giving the illusion that someone is in.

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2) Get your boiler serviced

If you haven’t already done so this year, book a Gas Safe registered engineer to come and service your boiler to ensure it’s running as efficiently as possible and to resolve any minor issues which could potentially turn into major costs.

A boiler service costs an average of £86, research by consumer association Which? reveals, whereas you’ll pay around £200 every time it breaks down. The cost of replacing a boiler can range from £1,500 to over £4,500.

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3) Improve your property’s insulation

Make sure your house is well insulated before winter properly sets in. Go round each room in your home checking for draughts and ensure your loft has the recommended 270mm of loft insulation.

Dr. Steve Buckley, head of data science at energy-saving app Loop, said: “Insulating pipes can be an easy way to reduce heat loss, and you can do it yourself too. Depending on the size of your house, you’ll only need to spend around £20 on foam lagging, which you’ll soon make back. Lagging also reduces the chances of pipes getting too cold and bursting during colder months.”

4) Clear gutters

Gutters can easily become clogged with leaves and other debris at this time of year, so make sure you check them and clear away anything that might prevent rainwater from going into drains. If they remain blocked then there’s a chance rainwater will overflow and run down your external walls, potentially causing damp issues.

5) Have your roof checked

Examine your roof to see if there are any missing or broken tiles or any damaged facias or soffits that that might let water in. If you can’t see the whole of your roof easily from the ground don’t be tempted to get a ladder out – it’s much better to get a trained professional to take a look on your behalf. Replacing a broken tile will typically set you back around £70-£100, but if you don’t do this and water gets in, it could cost you a lot more to fix any damp or rot.

6) Does your home insurance provide emergency cover?

However many checks you carry out to make sure your property is winter-ready, unfortunately there are always things that can happen that are out of your control, such as a freak storm causing damage, or your boiler suddenly packing up unexpectedly. It’s therefore a good idea to see if your home insurance policy includes emergency cover, which will cover any urgent issues such as blocked drains, boiler breakdowns and electrical failures. It will cover the costs of contractors’ call-out and labour charges and for parts and materials up to the sum insured.
According to comparison site Go.Compare, just 17% of home contents insurance policies automatically include home emergency cover but 47% offer this type of cover as an additional extra.


Ceri McMillan, Go.Compare’s home insurance expert, said: “If your home is unfortunately a victim of weather damage this winter and you need to make a claim, it’s important that you make a note of the time and date of the damage, and keep local weather reports to hand in case there is a dispute with your insurer on the severity of the weather conditions. And if you know a storm is on its way, you could even take pictures of your home before to provide evidence that it was in good condition before the weather got to it.”

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