While taking care of your holiday home has always been more challenging during winter months, the weather in recent years has meant that good property maintenance is even more important. One way we can see the monetary effect of cold weather is by looking at the payout figures published by the insurance industry.

Between the 24th November and the 31st December 2011, UK insurers paid out GBP 1.4 billion – one of the most expensive ‘big freezes’ on record – a rise of GBP 700 million on the previous winter (2009/10). On that period UK insurers dealt with more than 467,000 claims. 190,000 claims were related to property damage, which cost more around GBP 900 million.

Of those property claims, 103,000 related to burst pipes, costing GBP 680 million. This demonstrates – if it were necessary – how important a factor pipes are when leaving your property vacant for any length of time. While taking out a good standard home insurance or holiday home insurance policy is undoubtedly a prudent thing to do, the risk of flooding caused by a burst pipe can be greatly reduced by turning off the water mains and draining the water system when your property is not in use. You should check your policy to make sure you comply with any such requirements as failure to do so could leave you uninsured.

By taking all reasonable precautions as regards maintenance of your property, you’ll help ensure that if the worst does happen, you’ll be fully covered.