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Employers and home owners warned of insuring against the big freeze

The cold snap last December caught many by surprise, with burst pipes and broken heating systems forcing many UK business to close and causing home-owners across the country unnecessary hassle. In total, over 103,000 property insurance claims were put in as a result, at a cost of £680m.* 

Icy conditions on the roads also caused misery. Around 270,000 insurance claims were made, costing around £530m in dealing with damage to both personal and commercial vehicles.*

Met Office predictions this year indicate a slightly milder winter than last, and although longer-term forecasts are now no longer available to confirm another big freeze this time round, Russell Scanlan’s Managing Director Bryan Banbury says it’s still better to be prepared.“

Our weather systems seem to be more changeable than in the past, so it’s really important not to leave anything to chance. There are some really simple things you can do to give you peace of mind in knowing that the business or home you’ve worked so hard to build up are covered this winter.

* Source: Association of British Insurers www.abi.org.uk

“Think about whether you might be taking a longer than usual break this festive season, and check the details of all your business and home insurance policies. Most have a restriction in cover which applies once a property has been empty for 30 days or more, meaning that to avoid burst pipes and other such damage, specific steps should be taken.

“This could include turning off the water supply, draining down the system, and making sure someone regularly inspects the building during the time it’s unoccupied. If you’re moving house or office, and either the home or business premises you’re moving from or to will be empty for a period, the same restriction can apply.

“If you have any concerns, talk to your broker or insurer directly. You may be able to negotiate an extension of time on the empty property, or agree that you can leave the heating on rather than drain the system down.

“As you go about your business this winter, remember to also use your common sense! Don’t leave a running car unattended as it defrosts one icy morning, as that chance thief might just drive off in it. You may well be left with a bit of a fight on your hands to succesfully claim for the loss via your motor insurance company.

“From a commercial perspective, don’t forget that any bad weather may lead more of your employees to work from home if they’re struggling with their daily commute. Make sure that your business insurance policies cover offsite use of those all important laptops that carry sensitive company information.”

“Whatever circumstance you find yourself in this year, the golden rule is to know the details of your policies and to raise any queries with your broker or insurance company straight away. They’re very strict nowadays in their interpretation of any restrictions in place, so make sure you ask the question. That way, you’ll know that whatever the weather, you’re ready to face any situation with confidence.”    

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