Enjoying your Holiday Home in Winter

After such a long, hot summer, Autumn is upon us and it’s time to prepare for winter. Cold bright winter days are an ideal time to go for countryside or coastal walks when holiday resorts are less crowded, and it’s a great time to see wildlife. It’s a good to plan ahead now and take a few precautions to ensure that your holiday home provides a cosy retreat in the colder weather.

Ten tips on preparing your holiday home for winter

  1. Ensure that your boiler is serviced regularly, ideally before the winter months
  2. Check the roof for broken or missing tiles and slates and have them repaired or replaced
  3. When you can, keep the house warm and the heating on to avoid frozen pipes
  4. Ensure that you know the location of the stopcock in case you need to turn off the water in your holiday home quickly
  5. Repair any dripping taps
  6. Clear drains and gutters to avoid any blockages – especially important at this time of year because of all the fallen leaves
  7. If your holiday home is in the UK, visit the environment agency website to check if it is at risk of flooding
  8. Install insulation in the loft to reduce heat loss through the roof
  9. Seal any gaps around the edges of doors and windows to prevent draughts, but still try to maintain good ventilation
  10. Check your insurance policy for its unoccupancy clause and save your holiday home insurer’s contact details on your phone in case of an emergency

Taking these steps could help you to avoid the stress of having to make a claim and allow you to enjoy your holiday home in the winter months.

If you’ll be staying in your holiday home less frequently, then check your insurance policy for conditions relating to unoccupancy and see the information below as a general guide.

Unoccupancy

If your holiday home is left without an occupant for 60 consecutive days or more you must ensure that a responsible person is appointed to supervise and check the property both internally and externally at least once every 60 days.

Between 1st November and 31st March (both days inclusive) if the holiday home is left without an occupant for more than 48 hours you must ensure that the main water supply is turned off by means of a stopcock at the first available point of entry of the water supply to the home. Where the home is left without an occupant for 14 consecutive days, in addition all water tanks must be emptied by leaving both hot and cold kitchen taps fully open.

Alternatively, you may leave the water supply turned on between 1st November and 31st March (both days inclusive) as long as the following applies:

  1. The entire home benefits from a heating system (either gas or oil -fired central heating or a geothermal or full electric heating system – not night storage heaters) fitted with automatic controls and a separate thermostat. The system must be set to operate continuously for 24 hours of each day (not controlled by any timing device) and the thermostat set at not less than 10 degrees Celsius and, where fitted, the loft hatch door left open.

or:

  1. If the heating system as described above is installed and is additionally fitted with a “frost stat” that is designed and installed to override all other heating controls, irrespective of their functional status, then this may be set to operate at not less than 4 degrees Celsius.

If you have any queries about the conditions of your holiday home insurance policy, then see the example holiday home insurance policy or call our customer service team on 01604 946 787.

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Wrap up well and stay safe and warm this winter.