Home Maintenance – Don’t Lose Out on your Home and Contents Insurance.
Express Home Insurance
Holmes Chapel, Cheshire
Every homeowner is familiar with the maintenance it takes to keep your home in good shape to avoid future problems. Keeping your property in good repair with regular preventative care is a necessity to make it a comfortable home – but did you know that poor maintenance can have other side effects besides a little damp or dry rot? In the event of a claim on your home and contents policy, insurers will look at your property’s upkeep very carefully, Should your care be found to be at fault, your claim could suffer. Poor maintenance can lead insurers to reduce their payment to you – or worse, refuse to pay altogether.
So how can you avoid this problem? Here are our top ten tips in our once –a-year guide to a well-maintained home. It’s the annual checkup no homeowner can afford to miss!
Start your care plan once winter is over – winter is the time when most problems reveal themselves due to the damage caused by wind, rain, snow and frost. In the springtime, you can assess them properly and take corrective measures. Choose any calm spring afternoon, or even take it up as part that other traditional Easter pastime – doing up the house! If you catch a problem early, it will be much easier to correct and could save you a lot of money, not just in terms of work but the insurance claim we mentioned earlier.
So here it is, our handy guide to home maintenance!
1. Check and clear all gutters – don’t forget any on freestanding buildings like the garage. Unless you have the proper ladders and safety equipment, this can be a dangerous job so you may want to hire a professional cleaner. Clean out leaves and debris. In the autumn and winter, as well as summer showers, gutters are in constant use. Overflowing gutters leak down walls, causing problems with damp inside and out, from redecorating to damp proofing as water penetrates the fabric of the building. A costly affair that can be simply prevented with the right preparation.
2. Examine your roof. You can use binoculars to help. Check for any loose, cracked or slipped tiles. You don’t want rain to get in – there’s no sinking feeling like the one you get on hearing the steady drip, drip, drip of water coming from your ceiling. In addition to nuisance, water can cause long-term, expensive problems like damp or dry rot. Not to mention having to redecorate! There could also be problems in high winds – a loose slate or tile could be blown loose and hit you or a passer-by. Not a risk you’d want to take.
3. Keep an eye on any exterior finishes and paintwork. These are continually exposed to the elements – summer heat can make paint or underlying surfaces expand and crack or blister. When winter comes, these damaged areas contract with the cold and more cracks can start to form, letting in moisture. Once water gets in, frost and ice expand it causing even more damage. It’s well worth tackling any surface damage early with a lick of paint or sealer.
4. If you’re lucky enough to have an old-fashioned fire, you need to make sure that the chimney is swept annually. Not only is soot build-up unsightly, it is a fire risk and a chimney blaze is something to avoid. In the warmer summer months you may not use your fire, but any soot will absorb damp from the air and this may start to affect the brickwork.
5. Check the damp proof course. Make sure it is still intact, and that there is nothing bridging it. Your DPC can’t work properly if it is covered by garden rubbish or other yard debris. If the damp proofing fails, it will no longer protect your property from damp and dry rot.
6. Standard trees and specimen shrubs can add to the look of a property, but some will grow very large indeed – consider that a tree has a root spread at least as far as the branches of its crown. If a tree is overhanging your house, its roots are under your foundations. Removing them – or getting them out of the drainage system – is a very expensive business. The most notorious trees for this are Willows, which love water, and Poplars. In fact if a new house is built within 150 feet of a Poplar tree, the foundations have to be reinforced.
7. Falling trees or branches can cause problems too. If damage is caused to your property from a tree on someone else’s land, you will be covered in the event of an insurance claim. But if you own the land on which the tree grows, its maintenance is your responsibility. If its branches are structurally unsound or the trunk rotten, then it is up to you to keep it in a safe condition or have it removed. While you can keep smaller plants in good order yourself, you may need to have a tree surgeon conduct an annual inspection to ensure that large trees are safe, and not likely to be blown over except in extreme conditions.
8. Rambling ivy or Virginia Creeper may add a touch of the rustic to your home, but climbing plants can cause a lot of damage to the brickwork. Removing them is hard too, with roots penetrating mortar and plasterwork. Any cracks caused will be exploited by bad weather. Ivy is the most damaging, and you need to be especially careful not to let it get in to damage the roof.
9. Have your gas checked by a properly qualified professional. Make sure you choose a Corgi-registered engineer, who will check your boiler, radiators and gas appliances as well as carbon monoxide levels. Springtime is best for this, after the high-use winter period is over.
10. Finally, check the loft. Birds like to creep into roof spaces to nest, with messy consequences, as do wasps. Squirrels can also nest in roofs, and they have one nasty habit that could have a dangerous or even fatal outcome – they like to chew the insulation found on wires. Block up any access to your roof an ensure they don’t take up residence.
Follow our ten tips, and your home should be equal to almost anything the weather can throw at it. You will also be protected in the event of a claim on your home and contents insurance, knowing that your maintenance is up to standard.
Express provide great deals on home insurance quotes www.express-life-insurance.co.uk
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