Winter home insurance: making the most of your money

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Home insurance is one of those everyday essentials, but when winter rolls around it’s definitely time to give it a second look. So, today I’m going to be talking about what makes home insurance so important when the temperature drops, as well as giving you money-savings tips on picking the right policy – and ways you can avoid actually having to use it!

Why is home insurance especially important in winter?

Admittedly, statistics aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I think they help make matters nice and clear. In the case of home insurance, for instance, they definitely illustrate why you need to take extra care in winter.

Cast your mind back to that ultra-cold winter in 2010 – you know the one, it felt a bit like the White Witch of Narnia had stepped out of the pages of her storybook and decided that winter was permanent for real this time. The Association of British Insurers says that during this time, insurance companies were dealing with 3,500 claims a day for damage caused by burst frozen pipes.

Things like roof damage, central heating failure and broken boilers were also worryingly common over that period. Any of these problems is taxing enough on its own, but paired with a lack of insurance they’re a total nightmare.

How to pick the right policy and pay less

So, now you’re clued in as to why winter home insurance is so important, let’s talk about picking the right policy – and how to get good value. The latter point is particularly worth keeping at the forefront of your mind, I think, since all those claims mean that premiums are rising, making it all the more important to save.

The most crucial factors in selecting the right policy are, thankfully, fairly simple. First of all, you should take the time to understand what each policy actually covers – otherwise it’s impossible to know whether it’ll be worth having should the worst happen.

Equally vital is taking the time to make accurate estimates of your home’s value, both in terms of rebuild costs and how much the contents are worth. Fail to do this and the plan you choose might not pay out nearly enough when you need it – or you could be forking out over the odds for cover you don’t need.

In terms of saving money, by all means shop around online (as most of us would anyway), but also check whether you can get any discounts through your employer or union. Prospect union members, for instance, can get up to ten per cent off general public prices by signing up to a members club.

Ways to make sure you get the most from your policy

Of course, while we all like to know we’re financially protected should a disaster occur, none of us really want to have to make a claim – after all, getting your money back doesn’t erase all the stress associated with the situation. So, it also pays to make sure you take precautions to prevent damage from bad weather.

Top ways to do this include keeping your pipes warm, for example by ensuring the central heating is at a minimum of 12 to 15 degrees C – especially if you’re going to be away for a long period. Insulating your cold water tank is also wise, while leaving cupboards housing pipes and loft hatches open can help warm air to circulate and prevent pipes from freezing.