If you own or are responsible for an unoccupied property this winter, there are some things you need to be aware of to avoid unnecessary property damage.

It all comes down to freezing water – if your property isn’t prepared, you may find yourself having to claim for escape of water! When water

in pipes freezes, it expands and can cause the pipe to crack. Then, when the water thaws again, you have to deal with some potentially serious leaks.

First things first – is your insurance adequate?

Check your policy or speak to your broker to find out if your property is covered for escape of water from frozen pipes. Be sure to review your policy schedule, endorsements and policy wordings for any reference to ‘escape of water’ cover.

Lag your pipes and turn off the water.

There are a couple of things you can do to try and prevent pipes freezing. Simple lagging of pipes will help to keep whatever heat is present inside the system, as will turning off the water at the stopcock or stoptap and/or draining the system.

Maintenance is vital.

As with all aspects of owning an unoccupied property, proper ongoing maintenance can save a lot of money. When the weather takes a turn for the sub-zero, make sure to refit washers on any dripping taps. If they freeze, they’ll cause blockages in your pipes.

Check your property!

It is important to make sure you regularly check your unoccupied properties internally over very cold spells – and that includes all attic spaces. It might seem like a chore, but just think of the effort and expense you’ll be saving in the long run!

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