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How to prepare your home for a power cut

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Homeowners have been advised to prepare their homes for bad weather and power cuts as the Met Office issues weather warnings for some areas of the UK.

Snow and ice is predicted to hit most of Scotland and the north of England over the coming days, with the Met Office issuing a yellow weather warning for several areas.

GoCompare say weather-related incidents are sometimes considered as accidental damage by some home insurers, so it’s important that householders know if they are covered for this, should they need to claim. 

Incidents that are considered by insurers as ‘weather related’ damage connected to snow and ice include frozen pipes, ice dams forming on the roof, the weight of snow and ice on the roof causing damage, and loss or displacement due to power failure.  

Hannah Isitt, GoCompare’s home insurance spokesperson, said: “Power cuts are a real issue during bouts of snow and ice. Only a few months ago, Storm Arwen knocked the power out for more than a week in many homes around the UK and left many people out of pocket with lost food from freezers, as well as lack of general living amenities, such as a cooker, oven and heating.

“Snow can be lots of fun, but it can also cause major problems for homeowners as the weight can damage roofs. Ice can rupture pipes  and it can also cause damage to power lines leading to power cuts. Trees can fall on your roof and can cause damage and obstructions.

“When it comes to home insurance it’s important that you know what you are covered for so you aren’t left out of pocket should you need to claim.

“As well as the insurance consideration, you can also make sure that your home is prepared for these extreme weather conditions by conducting general maintenance such as lagging exposed pipes, installing good loft and wall insulation, ensuring that your roof is in good condition, as well as removing excess snow and ice from guttering and drains – as long as it is totally safe to do so, of course.”

How to prepare your home for a power cut

  • If you have a power cut, call 105 to report it. Don’t call your energy provider – it doesn’t control the power lines.
  • Be prepared and make sure you have a few torches to hand. Candles are also handy, but a torch is a lot safer.
  • Buy food that doesn’t need electricity to prepare. If your hob is a gas hob, buy tins of food that are easy to warm up. But if you do have a gas hob, remember that you need electricity to light it, so have some matches or a safe gas lighter to ignite it.
  • Consider investing in a battery powered radio, so you can hear the news and find out what is going on in the local area.
  • Fully charge your laptop and mobile phone, as well as any external chargers you have.
  • Keep a light on, so that you know when the power has been put back on.
  • Keep your freezer/fridge door closed for as long as possible to keep the food as cold as possible and have a cooler back to hand, should you need to move it. It is estimated that food can stay fresh for up to four hours in a fridge, 48 hours in a freezer that is full, and 24 hours in a half full freezer.

Isitt added: “If you do have to claim due to snow and ice damage, make sure that you make a note of the time and date it occurred so you can inform your insurer should you need to claim. Some insurers have specific criteria of what they consider a weather-related incident, so it’s important you have up to date and accurate notes of the times and damage. As long as it’s safe to go outside, consider taking some photos of the damage so you can show your insurer what has happened.”