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Protect your home from winter weather damage

In some cases an insurer will refuse to pay out for a weather-related home insurance claim if it feels that the homeowner hasn't maintained their property to a sufficient standard.

This short video shows you what you need to maintain and a few of the things you need to look out for.

Video transcript

[LOIS AVERY]: Home maintenance can be a minefield for many homeowners.

But getting it wrong could give your insurer a reason not to pay out if you make a claim.

We asked Chris Rainbow from Merlin to explain what homeowners need to keep in check to keep their insurer happy.

[CHRIS RAINBOW]: You're looking for things that are going to be affected by wind and rain, predominantly, because that's what we're expecting in winter.

A house and chimney with clogged guttering


[CHRIS]: When it comes to the guttering, that's a main cause of leaks within properties.

We can see from your gutters that there's some staining behind the downpipe at a high level, albeit it seems to be on the adjoining property's side.

That's an indication that it might be blocked, it's been overflowing and leaking.

The best thing to do is come out when it's raining, have a look and see what's going on.

Because if it is blocked it can back up and could eventually go back into the roof void, down into your walls internally and it's going to spoil your decoration.


[CHRIS]: Another problem just looking at it - you've got a tree outside, which has shed most of its leaves.

It's in close proximity to your house and I can see there's a leaf just in your gutter at the front.

This is the time of year that you should be having a look up there, or getting somebody up there to clear them out.

Make sure they're clear because, again, they can back up.

House with downpipe facing out into the street

Drain shoe

[CHRIS]: Another thing as well; the shoe at the bottom of your downpipe at the moment is actually aiming back at the wall.

The best thing to do is just turn it around so it's coming out onto the pavement.

You can see by all the other ones along the street, they're aimed outwards as opposed to back into the property.


[CHRIS]: The lead flashings around the chimneys is often a key thing to check, because if you've got some that are missing then water can get in.

That could be an obvious point of water ingress and potentially it's an issue where you haven't maintained the property.

Back of a house with guttering that slopes away from the downpipe


[LOIS]: At the back of the house, Chris noticed a few more potential problems.

[CHRIS]: There's a misalignment issue with the guttering.

You can see that the right-hand side is higher than the left-hand side - that's fine.

But then coming to the left of the downpipe it actually continues going downhill.

So it's never going to drain into the downpipe.

What'll happen is that the water will just build up and overflow off the corner.

It's going to come down right outside your back door and it may end up causing some dampness to that external corner.

It's just a case of making sure they're clear, re-aligning them, putting stop ends on and making sure that the joints aren't leaking.

Flat roof

[LOIS]: And don't forget if you have a flat roof, it will need maintaining.

[CHRIS]: It's not ideal that, with the ponding. Potentially it could reduce the long-term effectiveness of the roof covering.

It might bring its life expectancy down if you've got that water ponding on it all the time.

But it shouldn't make any difference in terms of insurance.

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