Weather adds to insurance bill

With Arctic storms battering the UK this December, including winds of over 100mph, experts fear householders will be hit with even higher repair bills. The almost 1 million households affected by winter weather last year paid out an average of £1,635 on repairs.

The nationwide study reveals the devastation caused by severe winter weather in the last five years. Of the properties damaged in the period surveyed, 43% had problems with their roofs, 23% struggled with frozen pipes, and boiler failure affected 18% of these homes. An unlucky 9% even had to move out of their home as a result of winter weather damage.

Despite one in eight (12%) households suffering damage from severe weather in the past five years, people are still failing to prepare for the worst in winter. Just a third (35%) of households have had their boiler serviced, with just a quarter clearing their gutters (24%) and only a fifth (20%) lagging their pipes.

Commenting on the research findings celebrity DIY expert Tommy Walsh said: “At this time of year it is easy to forget to service a boiler or lag your pipes when rushing around buying presents and festive decorations. Taking basic precautions to prevent against common problems such as frozen pipes doesn’t need to be time consuming or expensive. However, people that don’t invest in protecting their homes could face a nasty surprise as we face up to Arctic weather conditions.”

Direct Line Home Insurance’s research also revealed more than one in twenty (over 1.6 million) households have yet to turn on their central heating this winter. Almost a third (32%) of householders delayed turning on their heating this year. While many householders are trying to save money on their heating bills, they could find they face serious issues as a result of frozen or burst pipes when the temperature plummets.