Building maintenance

Each home insurance policy, whether buildings or contents insurance, will require you to perform certain duties in order to keep it valid. Failure to keep up your end of the insurance agreement may mean that you are unable to make a claim if you need to so it is important that you look at your policy carefully and ensure you do everything within your power to keep your home maintained to a high standard.
Things to look out for:

Make sure gutters are properly cleaned out every winter, falling leaves during the autumn can clog them up and lead to water seeping into the house and creating dampness within the walls.

As well as the guttering make sure that the damp course of your house is intact and unblocked. If the damp proofing fails it may leave your house open to dampness and rot, which can be costly problems to fix.

To stop water from entering into your house via the roof perform a thorough check of it, look out for any loose or missing tiles as water may be able to enter in to your home this way or they may pose a danger to passers by.

Another element of your roof that may need careful attention is your chimney. It is important to have your chimney swept regularly to prevent fires or blockages, which can again induce dampness.

Check the integrity of the external paintwork on your home, if it is in a state of bad repair with cracks or blistering this may lead to damage to the actual fabric of your house. Be sure to repaint regularly.

It isn’t just the paint on your walls that is important to keep an eye on. Climbing plants can cause much more damage to a property than expected, make sure you keep an eye on any creepers you have around your home and be sure to check your buildings insurance policies view on these climbers.

Trees on your property can cause a multitude of problems so it is important you consider their upkeep and maintenance very carefully. Some trees have extraordinarily long roots, which may interfere with the foundations of your house so be sure to check before planting. Any existing trees on your property should be kept in a good condition. Although your buildings insurance may cover you if a falling tree damages your property if that tree was damaged or rotting you may find yourself liable for the full cost!

It is important that you check your loft for any small animals nesting in there. Rodents, especially mice and squirrels can not only damage any possessions stored there but may chew through the insulation found on electrical wiring putting you at risk of fire. If you find any nests you should remove them and attempt to block up any holes to prevent the animals from getting back in. Or even better, call a professional exterminator to do it for you.

Finally make sure you have a gas check every year. It is recommended that this is performed in the spring after the year’s heaviest period of gas usage. Get your boiler, radiators and other gas appliances thoroughly checked as well as carbon monoxide checks.

Maintaining your house in a good condition not only ensures that your insurance policy remains valid but it may also prevent you from having to make a claim in the first place, a process that can not only be extremely stressful but also very upsetting.

Remember to inform your insurers of any change in situation that may affect your policy, any extensions or home improvements need to be noted so that your policy can be adapted to cover the new elements of your home.