Weather hub: Snow and ice

We'll help you face the worst of the British weather.

Snow and ice may be picturesque, but if you don’t take precautions sub-zero temperatures can damage your home. With a Winterproof Plan you could avoid the worst altogether, or be better prepared to deal with it if it happens.

Before freezing weather

How to stay informed

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

Time to draw up your 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 heating system that works and a home that’s well insulated.

Ways to protect yourself in advance

1. Plumbers, heating engineers and electricians are always busy during cold spells. So avoid the rush and get your boiler and central heating serviced before the really bad weather sets in.

2. Insulate your loft, your pipes, your water tank, and any exposed pipes in the garden.

3. Keep your heating on and set your thermostat to at least 10°C.

4. Use thick curtains in living areas and draft excluders under doors.

5. Let warm air circulate round the pipes by leaving the loft cover slightly ajar and the kitchen and bathroom cupboards open.

Have an emergency checklist

1. A torch with batteries, candles and matches, tinned food, warm clothing, and blankets.

2. Contact details of local plumbers, heating engineers and electricians, plus your utility companies and car breakdown services.

3. Important documents, 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. 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 electricity supply if you’re standing in water.

3. Drain the water system by running all the cold and hot water taps.

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 and stay out of the room.

After freezing weather

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

1. Remove any contents that are damaged beyond repair. Don’t throw them away as you may need them later for your claim.

2. Keep carpet or rug samples.

3. Take photographs of all damaged items to help support your claim.

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.

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

Government advice on flooding and extreme weather.

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

Important legal information

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