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Get your home or rental property ready to weather the storm

Get your home or rental property ready to weather the storm


At the end of last month, Storm Agnes, the first named storm of the season was announced. As we head towards the winter months we take a look at how you can prepare your home or rental property to weather the storm.

Anyone who has lived in the UK will be accustomed to heavy rain, strong winds, freezing temperatures, ice, snow and hail.


High winds and hail can cause damage to roofs, fences and external structures. Signs of wind-related problems include loose, cracked or missing roof tiles, damaged chimney pots, cracked brickwork and crumbling mortar.

Excessive rain periodically causes surface flooding, which can seriously damage homes.

Cold winters can bring freezing temperatures and ice, posing risks to homes. One of the most significant concerns is frozen pipes, which can burst. This can then cause extensive water damage when they thaw.

Heavy snow can cause problems too, such as by weighing down on your home’s less sturdy features, such as guttering. But the real problems come when snow starts to melt. Keep your eyes peeled for ice dams on your roof – which is when ice gathers in your guttering, forming icicles. This can trap water, leading to seepage and damage.

You can help minimise damage to your home or rental property by taking some simple preventative measures, which could be easier than fixing things afterwards.

Autumn or early winter are the ideal times to check your property is ready for anything winter has to throw at it. We have put together a checklist for you to make it easier.

  • Check exterior drains – is water flowing freely?

Look for signs outdoors such as water pooling, and check drain covers for leaves and rubbish.

  • Check guttering for damage or debris

It’s important to check your gutters and downpipes regularly to make sure they are secure, functioning properly and free from leaves, moss and other debris.  Unclean gutters and downpipes can cause damage to roofs and interior ceilings as well as to the gutters and drainpipes.  It can also contribute to mould growth, flooding and pest infestation.

  • Check for cracks in brickwork or render

These can allow for water ingress.  Keep an eye out inside for damp patches on walls or ceilings, and water seeping through doors or windows. If you have one, you can also check your attic for signs of water ingress from the roof. Also, pay attention to musty odours or a sudden increase in insect activity. These could indicate hidden moisture-related issues.

  • Check garden furniture

Make sure items like trampolines, bins, bikes, parasols and garden tables and chairs are tied down or stored away safely.

  • Tree safety

Check trees near your property for overhanging branches and cut back if necessary.

  • Inspect flat roofs for damage or leaks

Pay attention to the garage, shed and flat roofs.  Wear and tear to these roofs may mean they have become weakened and unable to support additional weight from heavy rain, broken branches, ice or snow.

  • Check tiles on roof

Look for any loose or missing tiles and if necessary, call in a professional.

  • Check mortar on chimney

Make sure it is in good condition and not degraded.

  • Are your pipes and/or water tank insulated?

It can help to prevent frozen pipes if your pipes are lagged (wrapped in insulation) and your tank is insulated. You can do this yourself, if you feel confident, and it can also save you money on your energy bills.

Alexander Swan specialise in providing insurance advice to both homeowners and landlords.