Weather hub: Snow and ice

We'll help you face the worst of the British weather and stay cosy at home.

Snow and ice may be nice to look at, but if you don’t take precautions, sub-zero temperatures can damage your home. With a winterproof plan you could avoid the worst, or be better prepared to deal with any issues as they begin.

Before freezing weather

Stay informed

Keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts. Add your postcode to the live Met Office weather feed.

Draw up a winterproof plan

Repairs to burst pipes may not be covered by your insurer, but the damage they cause usually is. The easiest way to winterproof your home and avoid pipe damage is simply to keep it warm. To do that, you need a working heating system and a home that’s well insulated.

Tips for around the house

  • Get your boiler, central heating and gas fires checked and serviced every year.
  • Ensure your loft and pipes are well insulated and ventilated.
  • Use draft excluders and weather stripping on doors and windows.
  • Do you have an open fire? If you do, then have your chimney swept regularly.
  • Wrap up to keep everyone cosy and warm.

Tips for around the garden

  • Check outside lights are working.
  • Make sure doors and gates are secure.
  • Check your roof for broken or loose tiles, and for cracks in chimney pots and pointing.
  • Keep gutters and drainpipes clear of leaves and debris.
  • Insulate outside taps so they don’t freeze or burst.
  • If you know bad weather is on its way, make sure garden furniture is secured.
  • Help wildlife by setting up safe havens – even a stack of logs could provide welcome shelter.
  • Set up bird boxes, baths and feeders for your feathered friends.

If you’re going to be away from home

  • Leave your central heating on low where possible.
  • Ask someone you trust to check on your house occasionally.
  • If you’re going to be away from home for longer than the agreed time, you must tell your insurer.

Things you may find helpful to have

  1. A torch and batteries, candles and matches, tinned food, warm clothing and blankets.
  2. Contact details for local plumbers, heating engineers and electricians, plus companies like your insurer, utility provider and vehicle breakdown service.
  3. Important information, like your home insurance policy number.
  4. Have salt and/or grit and a shovel on standby.
  5. Put your policy's claims line number in your mobile, so it's with you at all times. Visit our Contact us page to find the right number.

During freezing weather

What to do if a pipe bursts:

  1. Turn off the mains water supply. You’ll most likely find it under the kitchen sink or where the service pipe enters your home.
  2. Drain the water system by running all of the cold and hot water taps.
  3. Turn off the electricity, central heating and immersion heater. If there is serious water damage, the electrical supply should be turned off completely and you should leave the house until a qualified electrician has inspected the electrical system and made sure it’s safe. Never touch the circuit box or sockets and switches if you’re standing in water.
  4. Catch dripping water in buckets. If the ceiling starts to bulge slightly, pierce a few small holes in it to let the water drain through, but only if it’s safe to do so.
  5. If the ceiling bulges significantly, don’t tamper with it. The plaster could rupture, and debris could fall, so it’s safest to stay out of the room and call for professional help.

 

After freezing weather

What to do if your home or property is damaged, until you can register your claim:

  1. Take photographs of all damaged items to help support your claim.
  2. Safely store any items that are damaged until they can be assessed. Don’t throw them away as you may need them later for your claim.
  3. Roll up carpets and rugs to start the drying process. Safely store these until they can be assessed.
  4. If there has been water damage caused by burst pipes, open the windows so the property can begin to dry out, as long as it's practical and safe to do so.

How to check if you're covered

If you’re an existing home insurance customer, you can find out what is and isn't covered in your policy booklet.  You'll also be able to get advice on claims, and view our optional covers. You can also see some of our frequently asked questions here.

View your policy booklet

Getting help or making a claim

If you need to make a claim, please contact us as soon as possible.

Make a claim

Useful websites

GOV.UK Government advice on flooding and extreme weather.

Met Office – Cold-Weather Alert
Current alert levels for regions in England

Help and guidance

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