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9 tips for staying on top of wear and tear

Wear and tear is used to describe the effects of gradual deterioration of the building or contents of your home. It's important to know that home insurance is only there to guard against the unpredictable. You can't claim for damage caused by every day wear and tear.

For example, if you have a tile loosened through age which lets in water from a rainstorm this could result in a lot of damage. Or a rusty pipe becomes corroded with age, it could leak water and damage a ceiling below. In both cases, if the root cause is wear and tear, the repairs wouldn't be covered.

That's why it's vital to make sure you keep everything in good working order. Then your home will be well protected – and if you ever do need to make a claim, we will aim to get things back to normal, as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Roof

1. Roof and gutters

Exposed to the elements year in, year out, even the toughest roof suffers wear and tear over time. So it's a good idea to check regularly for broken, slipped or missing tiles and to make sure the gutters are draining freely. Gutter guards are a good way to keep them free of leaves and litter.

Lock

2. Locks and doors

You probably don't think much about locks, but you rely on them every day to secure your home. Wear and tear can eventually take its toll, so if door or window locks start to get stuck or seals work loose, it's time to think about maintenance or replacement.

Plumbing

3. Plumbing and heating

Get your boiler serviced every year, and remove air from the heating system regularly with a simple radiator key. Avoid burst pipes by keeping them cosy with good insulation. Investigate even the smallest water leak, in case it's a warning sign of something serious.

washing machine

4. Appliances

Wear and tear on kitchen appliances such as washing machines and fridges means they can suddenly break down, leading to leaks, drips or overheating, so do investigate promptly if they're not working as well as they should. Make sure you do anything the manufacturer recommends, like defrosting or cleaning filters.

Computer

5. TVs and computers

At some point you may start to see problems with your TV or any computer, laptop or tablet. You can ask a specialist or see if it's under warranty – but as with any electrical equipment, be very wary of any overheating or fire risks.

Flat roof

6. Flat roof

Check your flat roof for any cracks and blisters, or get a professional to give it the once-over if in doubt – and keep an eye out for any tell-tale damp patches on the ceiling under a flat roof. Most flat roofing is designed to last for a number of years but after exposure to the elements cracks can let in the rain.

Windows

7. Windows

The sun, rain and changing temperature leads to cracks in wooden windows, or deterioration of rubber seals – all the classic signs of wear and tear. Summer months are an ideal time to inspect for flaky paint or loose seals and get them sorted in time for winter.

Walls

8. Walls

Loose mortar or cracks in rendering can eventually let in the elements, leading to water seeping in where it's not wanted. It's best to spot and remedy any faults before the damage is done, so look out for pieces of mortar that are loose or falling out and get it repointed, and fill or replace cracked render.

Damp

9. Damp and mould

If you see damp or mould, there may be an underlying problem that needs tackling – perhaps a seal or damp proof course that's suffered wear and tear over time. You might need expert help here, as it can be difficult to be sure of the source and find an effective remedy. Mould can carry health risks, so make it a priority.

Help and guidance

Insuring your home can sometimes feel overwhelming, so we're here to help make things as simple as possible.

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How to check if you’re covered

If you’re an existing home insurance customer, here’s a link to our policy booklets so that you can check what’s covered, what’s available as additional cover, as well as advice on making claims and frequently asked questions.

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