Winter in modern Britain can only mean one thing – stormy weather. The UK has begun reaping the whirlwind of climate change and that is a trend set to continue in the decades to come, according to new data from the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
Who could forget storms Aileen and Brian? While their names weren’t exactly formidable, that didn’t stop them wreaking havoc across the country, bringing violent gusts of over 80mph in places.
This year also saw the most powerful storm ever to travel this far east in the Atlantic ocean, ex-Hurricane Ophelia. Its “violent and destructive gusts”, as the Irish Met Office described it, have been attributed to at least three deaths in Ireland, and insured damage claims in the UK are thought to be in the region of £5-10 million.
So with the ferociousness and frequency of storms set to rise, it might be a wise idea to prepare for them.
This doesn’t mean uprooting your family home and relocating to a converted underground bunker in the Scottish Highlands, however. Buildings and contents insurance will do just fine.
Flooding seems to be a trend set to continue, too. More than 70 people were rescued by firefighters in Lancashire last week, as torrential rain caused widespread flooding and power blackouts across north-west England and north Wales.
Here are a few tips to help you and your family better prepare for blustery weather that lies ahead.
- Insure your home with buildings and contents insurance
Investment bank UBS last year predicted that the insurance market would not turn towards higher premiums, stating robust competition within the household insurance sector, falling premiums and the introduction of a new insurance regime for affected customers. This is in spite of combined insurance losses of between £1bn and 1.4bn caused my last year’s storms.
With this in mind, now seems to be a good time to insure your home and contents against weather-related damage.
- Check your house for obvious potential issues
One of the easiest things you can to protect against wind damage and flooding is to take a walk around your property and try to spot anything that could cause damage.
Trees can cause significant damage to fences, cars and roof tiles when uprooted, so it may be worth pruning back any loose or dead branches.
Gutters should be cleaned periodically and nearby drains checked for blockages. Any blockages could cause an unwanted build-up of water around your property, heightening the risk of flooding.
The weakest links on your property will be the first casualties of storms, so be on the lookout for cracked roof tiles, loose fence posts and unsecured lead flashing.
If necessary, call a professional to carry out maintenance tasks and be sure to contact your local council if you spot any drain blockages.
- Stock up on supplies
While the UK manages to avoid most of the world’s most extreme weather, we often have to put up with an onslaught of wind and rain through the winter season.
Making our homes as cosy and comfortable as possible is enough for most of us to see out the winter contently. Stocking up on common winter necessities means you won’t have to panic when the weather turns sour.
Aside from the obvious necessities such as food, toiletries, warm blankets and a backup generator, it wouldn’t go a miss to purchase some extra de-icer, WD40, shovels and salt grit to make those icy mornings a little more bearable.