Last Updated on September 19, 2014 by Mark Lavington

keep-calm-protect-inspect -our-holiday-homeWith the UK basked in what is fast becoming an Indian summer and one of the warmest July’s on records fresh in the memory it can be difficult to adjust the mind to look forward to more inclement times.

The devastation caused to homes and holiday property across the Westcountry and South coast of England in the early months of 2014 is still only now being repaired; dredging on the Somerset levels continues on a daily basis.

Now is however the time to take stock and to ensure you’re fully ready for the winter ahead; proactive maintenance now may well save time and money when the nights are darker and the winds much stiffer.

Here are ten steps to ensure your holiday home remains open for business

Frozen Pipes

If you’ve not already insulated pipes and storage systems in your holiday home then now should be the time to review.  Whilst the average UK temperature during September is a balmy 15C, that figure drops significantly to 5C during December to February (the lowest recorded temperature this year was -8C in Sutherland).

We see more burst pipe and escape of water insurance claims than any other; the damage caused can be significant but there are several simple steps to take to minimise your risk:

  • If your holiday home is to be unoccupied during the winter ensure you turn the water off at the stopcock.
  • If the stopcock is not turned off, and the heating system drained, ensure the temperature throughout your holiday home is kept above a level to prevent your pipes from freezing.
  • Ensure you arrange for regular checks to be made on the property during its period of occupancy.
  • Look to lag and insulate pipes, boilers and storage tanks, particularly if exposed to the elements.
  • Make sure your heating and water systems are regularly checked by a professional and consider installing a leak detection system or automatic stopcock, particularly if you live away from the property.

Storm Damage 

The estimated cost of damage caused by the storms in February has soared above the £1bn mark. For holiday homeowners this damage can be felt not only in property damage but also in lost revenues from occupancy.

It’s therefore vital to do your storm damage checks:

  • High winds can cause already loose slates to fly considerable distances, causing extensive damage.  When was the last time your holiday home slates were checked?  Make sure you visually check for broken or loose slates on a regular basis and conduct more thorough inspections prior to forecast gusts.
  • Maintain the drains and guttering on your property.  Summer months and activity such as cutting your lawns can cause drains to become quickly blocked.  Water with nowhere to go will inevitably cause your property more damage.
  • Check for any damage to your chimneys, gates, trees or fences.  Also remove trampolines or other play equipment not securely fastened to the ground.
  • If your property is occupied during the winter consider having an emergency package for guests, including things such as a torch should the electricity supply to your property be cut.
  • Ensure a qualified professional carries out all necessary repairs to your property.

Your Insurance

As specialists in holiday home insurance we understand the impact that having your property unavailable as the result of the weather has on your business.

For that reason we’re always keen to highlight ways in which property owners can be proactive in minimising these potential risks.

Please ensure that you take a look through our specialist holiday home insurance policy so you fully understand the conditions you should be taking to minimise the risks of the weather having an impact on your holiday letting business.

Our Policy is there to help protect you and for your peace of mind.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444.

2 replies
  1. Dorothy Boswell
    Dorothy Boswell says:

    I actually moved my insurance to Boshers because last insurer was insisting on 16C temperature throughout unoccupied house in winter, which I though was environmentally indefensible. I believe I was told that your insisted on 9C – is that correct ? Given that freezing is 0C why couldn’t it be lower – say 5C. Can an automatic frost be used instead?

    Reply
    • Mark Lavington
      Mark Lavington says:

      Thanks for your comments. The winter heating condition in Boshers holiday home insurance policy is as follows:
      “Whilst the holiday home is untenanted during the months of October to March inclusive, you will arrange that either (a) the heating system is brought into constant operation and a minimum room temperature of not less than 7 degrees Celcius (45 degrees Fahrenheit) maintained throughout the property or (b) the water is turned off at the stopcock inside the premises and the domestic water system drained and other services such as electricity and gas are disconnected (other than as necessary to maintain the central heating or security system). There is also a requirement that any water tank and pipework in your loft is lagged.”

      Heating system controls and settings will differ depending on the make, model and layout of your holiday home. It may be that in order to maintain a minimum room temperature throughout your property (including bathrooms and behind kitchen cabinets where water pipes will run of not less then 7 degrees Celcius), your thermostats may need to be set higher than this to avoid cool areas where pipes could freeze. Simply relying on setting your boilers frost stat setting to a very minimum level will not necessarily meet the conditions. There is a balance to be found which will meet the policy conditions and reduce the risk of burst pipes, help maintain your decor by preventing the build up of mold and mildew, our environmental responsibilities and keeping heating bills within reason.

      Reply

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