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Save thousands simply by taking small precautions, says insurer

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Homeowners are being urged to check that they have taken sensible precautions for the impending cold weather.

According to AXA, 2011 saw a drop in the number of burst pipe claims in the UK of around 20%.

But the insurers is warning people that as temperatures drop, people should not leave taking precautions against the devastating consequences of a burst pipe to the last minute.

The average cost of a burst pipe is around two and half times more than a burglary claim, and homeowners are three times more likely to experience a burst pipe than a theft during cold spells.

Christine Matthews, head of household claims at AXA, said: “Even in a generally milder winter, tens of thousands of people will experience the misery of returning to a home damaged by water from a burst pipe if they are caught out by a cold snap. 

“Protecting your home from damage is really very simple and can save the heartache of having your home and precious contents destroyed by water.

“We know that heating can be expensive but keeping the radiators on low while you are away could prevent the devastating consequences of a burst pipe.”

Older homeowners are particularly at risk of burst pipes, as theytend to take longer holidays over the winter periods.

Tips to prevent a burst pipe.

1. Leave your heating on at a minimum of 13°C. This will stop water in your pipes from freezing.

2. Leave your loft hatch open to let warm air circulate – particularly if you have a cold water tank in your loft.

3. Make sure you know where your stop cock is so you can turn off water quickly in an emergency.

4. Check the insulation on your water pipes and the lagging on your cold water tank – if there’s none in place get it sorted as soon as possible.

5. Insulate your loft – not only will this keep your home warm, it has environmental benefits too.

6. Leave your kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open – this will allow warmer air to circulate around the pipes that are often found inside these cupboards.

7. Seal any holes that let in cold air. With modern technology, increasing numbers of people have holes in the wall for computer cables or TV links.

8. If you’re going away for an extended break, drain your water system and check that you have insurance cover in place that does not have restrictions relating to un-occupancy.

9. Also if you are away, get your neighbours to check on your property.

10. Check your insurance is up to date and you are covered for the full value of your contents.

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