CHESTER, England, November 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
Lack of Winter Preparation Puts One in Three Homeowners at Risk
Research from M&S Money reveals the number of home insurance claims as a result of winter weather have risen by 200 per cent over the last three years. The total cost of damages, from both insured and uninsured homes, now exceeds £600m per year.
M&S Money is alerting homeowners of the need to prepare for the onset of winter, while the majority (71%) understand the onus is on them to ensure their property is in good repair, less than a third have carried out basic maintenance in the last two years, such as checking for loose tiles, cleaning chimneys or cutting back plants.
Overall, the most common damage during the winter season is caused by wind, but in the last couple of years snow and heavy rain has been a real problem for homeowners.
The average cost to repair storm damage is nearly £600, although some claims run into tens of thousands of pounds. While many homeowners will have sufficient home insurance to cover the cost of damages, around 30 per cent of households aren't covered, either because no policy is in place or the claim has been invalidated due to a lack of basic maintenance.
M&S Money also highlights that other common winter hazards around the home include burst pipes; which have escalated in the last couple of years with freezing winter conditions, and chimney fires caused by neglected and dirty chimneys.
Fleur Carruthers, Home Insurance Manager at M&S Money, said: "We recommend homeowners make time over the next couple of weeks to check their homes are in a good state of repair and ready for winter. Carrying out basic maintenance can prevent damage from occurring, and should the worst happen, ensure a claim is valid."
Follow Fleur's top tips for preparing your home for winter
- Check your roof for loose tiles that could be dislodged in heavy wind, causing damage and leaks
- Keep your gutters cleared of autumn leaves to avoid blockages and resultant flood or rain damage
- Prune trees close to the home to prevent branches snapping and damaging the house
- Check plants growing up the house are not growing into the brickwork which could allow frost damage to infiltrate
- If you have a chimney, make sure it is swept regularly and clear of debris that could start a chimney fire
- Insulate pipes and leave heating on a low setting at all times in freezing conditions
About M&S Money
M&S Money (the trading name of Marks and Spencer Financial Servicesplc) was founded in 1985 as the financial services division of Marks and Spencer Group plc.
The company is a top-ten credit card provider and the second-largest travel money retailer in the UK.
M&S Money also offers a range of insurance cover, including home insurance and car insurance, as well as loans, savings and investment products.
In November 2004, Marks & Spencer sold M&S Money to HSBC. HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of the HSBC Group, is headquartered in London. The Group serves customers worldwide from around 7,500 offices in 87 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. With assets of US$2,691bn at 30 June 2011, HSBC is one of the world's largest banking and financial services organisations.
M&S Money has an executive committee comprising an equal number of representatives from HSBC and Marks & Spencer.
M&S Home insurance is underwritten by AXA Insurance UK plc.
1. Based on TGI data on numbers of households and M&S Money claims data. Excludes burst pipe damage.
2. Based on claims data from M&S Money
3 Based on research from Onepoll carried out among 2000 UK adults, October 2011
SOURCE M&S Money