El Niño’s coming this winter: Are you prepared… and insured?

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The coming winter could be the worst since the big freeze of 2009/2010 due to the ‘El Niño’ weather phenomenon, experts are predicting.Winter

Very cold winters bring a surge in insurance claims, which can cost property owners dearly; not only do they have to shell out for the policy excess on each claim, their premiums usually rise too.

But can you be sure your buildings and contents insurance will cover you for damage caused by bad weather? Do you actually have the right policy for your property and circumstances? And what can you do to protect your home from the effects of winter?

The El Niño effect

When El Niño is particularly powerful, it can shift the polar jet stream further south than usual, causing an intensely cold, long and stormy winter here in the UK.

And recent predictions from the Met Office suggest this year El Niño could be at its strongest since 1950, which saw one of the snowiest winters on record.

Insurance problems for poorly maintained homes

Those who don’t prepare their homes for the ravages of a bad winter face the prospect of insurers rejecting any cover claims for weather damage.

If you don’t have lagging on pipes, for example, or have cracks in external walls an insurer may decide not to pay out on the grounds that the damage might not have occurred if your property had been properly maintained.

Do you have the right cover?

But even if you maintain your home beautifully, it won’t matter if you don’t have the right cover for your needs in the first place.

Some policies might not cover outbuildings, for example. Others won’t cover boilers and heating systems if they haven’t been checked by a registered plumber.

Are your details up-to-date?

And insurers need to know about any major changes to a property, the area it’s in and your personal circumstances otherwise your cover could be invalidated.

Many people renew their cover every year with the same provider without updating their property’s details. So if your insurer doesn’t know that something has changed, and you subsequently need to make a claim, you could be in serious financial trouble.

Common updating errors include failing to tell an insurer about home improvements, such as rear extensions and loft conversions, who is living at a property, an increase in the value of a home’s contents, or rebuilding costs, and even moving to a new home.

Get expert help

Check if you have the right level of cover to provide the financial protection you need from extreme weather events; talk to one of our friendly brokers here at Policy Expert today.

Policy Expert

As an online insurance broker, Policy Expert help our customers to compare insurance products and find a policy that’s right for them. Customer care is at the heart of everything we do and we have a dedicated customer service team on hand by phone, email, twitter and instant chat. For more information speak to one of our experts on 0330 0600 600 or email ask@policyexpert.co.uk

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Policy Expert.