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How to winter-proof your home

House & Home

Posted on Tuesday, April 28, 2020

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Your home is your castle, as the saying goes. And yes, your home is so much more than just a building with four walls, regardless of whether you live in a cosy cottage, a sprawling mansion or somewhere in between. It’s the place you call your own, where you laugh, cry and spend quality time with your family. Your home is also likely to be your most valuable possession – not only in financial terms, but also emotionally, seeing as this is where you feel safe and build priceless memories. That’s why having home insurance is a no-brainer, even more so during the winter months when the risk of weather-related claims increases. Here are a few tips to help you winter-proof your home:

 

* Know your cover

Know exactly what your insurance will cover in case of typical winter risk-related claims. While you’re not likely to suffer from frozen pipes or snow-related damages in South Africa, our winters can still bring storms, lightning, hail, torrential rain and flooding, which could seriously damage your home

Budget Insurance’s Building Insurance offers affordable protection against a wide range of damages or losses from weather events and natural disasters such as fire, lightning, earthquakes, storms or floods, among others.

Note that Building Insurance covers the physical structure of your house, garage and pool, while your possessions and furniture inside the buildings fall under Home Contents Insurance. Make sure you have enough  cover for your specific needs and that your home is insured for its full replacement value.

 

* Preventative measures

If your home were your castle, you wouldn’t allow the moat to dry up, the towers to crumble and the roof tiles to degrade. So take preventative measures to repair and secure your home for winter to minimise potential damage to the building structure. Remember that insurance is meant for unexpected events and accidental damage, rather than for houses falling apart as a result of lack of maintenance.

 

* Look after your geyser

Who doesn’t love instant hot water and a warm shower on a cold winter’s day? As our geysers work harder in winter than during the warmer months, they are more prone to bursting or overflowing, which typically leads to water damage on your ceiling, walls and floors. Budget Insurance’s Building Insurance covers the damage of geysers, equipment or pipes. To decrease the risk of this happening, have your geyser serviced regularly. SA geyser maker Kwikot recommends a service every three to four years, or every second year if you have scale build-up from hard water, or issues with your water supply. Know where your main water shut-off is so you can act quickly in an emergency.

 

* Tame the flames

Winter is the time for log fires and heaters. Enjoy the warmth, but be aware of the fire hazard to your home. Position heaters away from furniture, curtains and other flammable items. Put a grate in front of the fireplace to prevent sparks flying. Have your chimney or flue inspected and swept professionally once a year. And before you go to bed or leave the house, ensure all fires have been put out and all heaters switched off.

 

* All clear outside

Make sure your roof is winter-proof by replacing missing tiles so rain can’t get through. Trim nearby trees and dead branches to prevent them from crashing onto your roof during a storm. Also ensure that no tree branches are encroaching on power lines so as not to cause a fire.

Clear your gutters of leaves and debris so they don’t flood and cause seeping damp in the house during heavy rainstorms.

 

* Be safe

Wintery weather conditions and earlier onset of darkness make it easier for criminals to break into properties. While Budget Insurance’s Building Insurance covers losses caused by break-ins or theft, and malicious or intentional damage to the building, you can also do your bit: install good lighting and trim the trees around your home so you have a clear view and intruders can’t hide easily. Ensure your alarm battery is charged, especially during load shedding. Ultimately, try to enjoy the winter, safe in the knowledge that your home is covered.