With winter comes the most magical time of the year. However, the cold weather could also make you more likely to claim on your insurance whether from icy roads, storms or increased risk of flooding.
Check out our list of the most common winter insurance claims and how to avoid them so you can have a stress-free holiday season.
EASY AS HACK
Replace electrics that are old or broken to avoid one of the most common winter insurance claims – house fires.
AT A GLANCE
2. Burst pipes
3. Flood damage
4. Windshield damage
5. Storm damage
common claim 1: house fires
House fire claims spike during the winter months. This is mainly due to the increased use of electricity, though candles are another seasonal culprit.
Leaving space heaters, or other portable heaters, switched on at the wall and running all day can be dangerous, especially if you’re drying clothes. The element can overheat, the clothes can catch fire, or it can cause a fuse to blow. Be sure to keep portable heaters away from any combustible materials and, if possible, on hard floors.
Christmas trees, real ones, are also a common cause of house fires. Christmas fairy lights are rarely replaced, and eventually the wires get worn down, or the bulbs will break. This can cause the Christmas tree to catch fire if it’s particularly dry. Overloaded sockets are another common cause of seasonal fires. Be sure not to use more than one extension lead per socket and keep your pets away from live wires.
Easy as hack: Purchase a heater you can set a timer for, and make sure you don’t dry clothes and shoes in front of it.
common claim 2: accidents on the road
Accident claims go up every winter compared to the rest of the year.
According to our claims data, the largest spike comes from accidents where only the insured vehicle is involved. This can be due to wet roads, black ice and low visibility with drivers involved in accidents like skidding off the road or accidentally hitting a stationery object.
Easy as hack: Get your tyres and headlights checked and, if necessary, replaced in time for colder temperatures and shorter days.
Common claim 3: Slips, trips and falls
Apparently, we all get a little bit clumsier at this time of year, with slips, trips and falls leading to all sorts of mishaps.
From tripping over loose rugs and wires, to spilt drinks and accidently stepping on expensive presents left on the floor. Accidents around the house can be all too easy when we’re feeling a little merry.
Easy as hack: Tidy wires won’t only save expensive electronics getting damaged, they could also save you a trip to A&E. Use wire tidies or even just a bit of Sellotape to keep your wires together and your friends and family safe around the house.
Common claim 4: Burst pipes
Sometimes, burst pipes are an unavoidable part of living with such rapidly changing weather. Water expands when it freezes, meaning your pipes could burst if water freezes inside them.
If your pipes have frozen, you’ll need to turn your water off and carefully melt the ice before any more damage is caused. Or, if you’re worried, call a plumber in to help you resolve the issue.
Easy as hack: Check your pipes for damage and properly insulate them before winter sets in.
Common claim 5: Christmas tree vs TV
They might look pretty, but Christmas trees can prove a hazard around the house – especially when it comes your TV.
Some of our most common Christmas tree related claims happen when people are putting up or taking down their tree, and the TV gets caught in the crossfire. Whether you knock the TV, trip into it, or one of your heavier decorations catches the screen, being left without a TV for Christmas is never ideal.
Easy as hack: Move your TV to a safe space while putting up and taking down your Christmas tree, helping avoid potential accidents.
Common claim 6: Flood damage
Very heavy rainfall can cause unexpected flooding, with block or over-flowing drains leading to unforeseen damage.
There are several things you can do to lessen the damage a flood will do to your house. Use our flood damage prevention checklist to prepare your home.
Easy as hack: Check if you live in a high flood risk area and prepare accordingly.
Common claim 7: Losing footing in the loft
Putting up the Christmas decorations can be fun for all the family, but keep in mind the potential hazards when heading into the loft-space.
While many of us store seasonal things like Christmas decks away for the year, we don’t always make sure that our lofts are wholly secure and sturdy. This can lead to accidents such as putting your foot through bedroom ceilings, leading to expensive damage and even injury.
Easy as hack: Invest in getting your loft properly boarded before storing heavy items up there. If you don’t have proper boarding, ensure that all items are within arm's reach, so you don’t need to put any extra weight on your ceilings.
Common claim 8: Windscreen damage
Did you know, glass expands and contracts depending on the temperature?
When it’s cold and ice settles on your windscreen, this will cause the glass of your windscreen to contract. If you then use the defrost setting, or quickly heat your car up you’ll be causing a rapid change in temperature, putting stress on your windscreen and potentially causing it to chip or crack.
If you do spot chips in your windscreen, be sure to get them mended as soon as possible (this is usually very cheap to do) to save them turning into cracks when the temperature changes.
Easy as hack: Cover your windshield overnight to prevent ice from forming or use a homemade de-icer spray to get rid of the ice.
Common claim 9: Storm damage
Storms can happen all year round but claims generally spike in winter.
It can be hard to predict how bad a storm will be before it happens. There are multiple ways your car and home can be damaged in a storm, either from flooding, hail, or debris, like a tree or someone else’s property falling and causing damage.
If a storm is on its way, it’s a good idea to take preventative measures to protect your home and car. Visit our Storm Hub for tips and advice on how to keep your home and possessions protected in extreme weather. However, weather-related damage is often classified as an ‘Act of God’ and might not be coverable, so it may be a good idea for you to take preventative measures instead of relying on your insurance.
Easy as hack: If you have a garage, or some other sheltered place, park your car there for the duration of the storm to prevent damage.
And more of a Common 'problem' 10: Overexcited Pets
And lastly, we don’t always think about our pets when we’re planning holiday festivities or putting up decorations. But damage caused by overexcited or anxious pets is actually one of the most common winter problems.
While leaving new pets alone in the house could result in chewed furniture or a fallen Christmas tree, even older pets can become easily startled by New Year fireworks or overexcited by lights and decorations.
N.B. Many home insurance policies don’t cover damage caused by pets, so be sure to check what you are covered for.