With Storm Caroline making the news today as she batters the northern coastlines of Scotland and Northern England, any coastal region has to be prepared to batten down the hatches as bad weather on the horizon means it’s turning into a very British winter. Rain has hit, in some cases torrentially the country in recent weeks with an estimated £1.3 billion of storm damage and flood damage already caused to domestic properties and businesses. In Pembrokeshire alone, yellow warnings for localised flooding and bad weather have been issued, so it’s always worth thinking about how you can protect yourself moving forward, especially if you’re a second home owner.
If you’ve been lucky enough to escape storm damage to your holiday home up until now, then whilst this is great news, now is the time to increase the chances of that luck continuing by being proactive in taking preventative measures and hopefully avoid a holiday home insurance claim, and potentially, extended periods where you cannot let your property. Our friends over at Boshers have helped us with some details which help us explain what you should be doing in order to minimise the risk of your property becoming a victim of the inclement weather:
Flooding – sign up for warnings from the Environment Agency
Flooding can happen quickly, so it’s essential that you’re prepared and the best way to do this is to be up-to-date. The first thing you should do is, do all you can to make sure you receive flood warnings. In areas of high flood risk, the Environment Agency offers a service called Floodline Warnings Direct. This is a free, 24 hour service that sends automated flood warnings by telephone, SMS text, email, fax or pager. Keep yourself in the know, especially if you live away from your holiday home it’s essential you are familiar with the weather conditions, and any potential threat of flooding.
Conduct visual checks of your property
The forestry commission estimates that up to 30 million trees across the UK may have been blown down during last year’s storms. Just because they are sturdy and have been there for years and years, doesn’t make trees any less vulnerable during a storm and can do significant damage to your holiday home and anything that stands in their way. Don’t leave it to chance. Check nearby trees for any damage, and clear away any fallen branches. If you do suspect that a tree is damaged or rotten, ensure you consult a professional tree surgeon. There are many in Pembrokeshire and
If there is a potential issue ensure guests park in an alternative position until the issue can be examined by a tree surgeon/contact a tree surgeon to prune back any loose or dead branches from trees.
Check for loose slates
Aside from tree branches, falling roof tiles account for the highest number of insurance claims caused by storm damage across the UK.
If there is visible damage to the slates on your holiday home roof you should speak with a professional as soon as possible.
Address Guttering and Drain Pipes
Problems arise when water can no longer escape. Drains and guttering can become obstructed during periods of heavy and prolonged rain so ensure you’ve checked that all of your drains are free from debris (particularly leaves at this time of year) and that water can pass freely through them.
Garden furniture and ornaments
Whilst most people will have stored their garden furniture and trampoline away for the winter (if you haven’t then now is the time to do so!), it may be less obvious to move flowerpots or even garden gnomes if you have them!
Smaller items such as this, along with bird tables and feeders can smash windows if caught by the wind so ensure these are placed somewhere that they can’t do any damage.
Water features and outside taps
We’ve recently seen temperatures as low as -10C across the UK. Empty any water features you have so that any potential ice can’t crack the pipes or containers. Isolate the water supply to outside taps until Spring arrives.
What’s in the garden shed?
If your BBQ or any aluminium furniture is stored in a shed ensure that they are covered to protect them from corrosion and ensure the doors and windows are securely fastened to avoid them blowing open.
Do you have guests in your property?
If guests are staying in your holiday property during stormy weather ensure they know who to call should there be any damage. Also take sensible measures such as advising them to use alternative parking if necessary (for example if a nearby tree is causing issues, or slates have fallen from the roof in that area).