Bad weather warning: how to protect homes, cars and pets

With fears of another Beast from the East, GoCompare has tips on how to protect your bubble

With continuing cold weather and even talk of another ‘Beast from the East’, GoCompare is urging people to make sure they are prepared for the worst winter weather.

Lee Griffin, CEO and founder of GoCompare commented, “With sub-zero temperatures and biting winds forecast, we’re urging people to take extra safety precautions.  Protecting your property against freezing conditions is a key priority.  The average cost of weather-related insurance claims1 for burst pipes from the 2018 ‘Beast from the East’ was £10,000 – which helps to illustrate the significant damage frozen, burst pipes can cause. 

“We are concerned that some maintenance and essential repairs have been delayed due to lockdowns and restrictions, so it is important to stress that you can normally still arrange for tradespeople to do urgent repair work, even with Covid restrictions in place.  Insurance generally won’t pay out if damage has been caused by neglecting repairs and general maintenance.  It’s also worth checking your home insurance to see if it includes home emergency cover.  This typically gives customers access to a call out service for emergency repairs and cover in the event of boiler breakdown, the failure of your home’s electric or gas supply, plumbing and drainage issues.”

Tips for getting your home winter-ready

  • Central heating – Get a boiler service in line with manufacturer guidance (usually once a year) and check to see if radiators and thermostats are working efficiently.
  • Insulate loft spaces, water tanks, pipes, and outdoor taps.
  • If you have a wood burner or open fire, ensure the chimney is swept annually.
  • Maintain your home’s exterior - replace cracked windows, fix any leaks on the roof, etc. Clear gutters of leaves and other debris, and repair/replace any damaged sections of guttering.
  • Help garden buildings and structures weather the winter by repairing any damage, replacing rotten wood, securing hinges, etc.
  • Protect any delicate plants against frost and ice.

Lee Griffin continued, “Extreme weather conditions can be treacherous for motorists.  Drivers should allow more time for their journey – to get their vehicle ready before heading off, for reducing their speed in line with road and weather conditions and, any road blockages or other delays.” 

Tips for winter driving

  • Clear your car’s windows, mirrors, numberplate and lights of ice or snow before setting off. It is also illegal to drive with snow on top of your car.
  • Stock-up on de-icer and antifreeze. Using warm or boiling water to defrost your car’s windscreen can cause it to crack, particularly if it already has a chip or crack in it.
  • Don’t leave your car unattended and unlocked with engine running while demisting it could invalidate your insurance if it is stolen.
  • Drive appropriately for the weather conditions, giving yourself plenty of extra time.
  • Remind yourself of the location of your car’s fog lights before you need to use them.
  • Driving through big puddles and splashing pedestrians is a Road Traffic offence.
  • Driving through flood water can be dangerous and any damage caused to your car may not be covered by insurance.
  • Organise an emergency kit to keep in your car. Things like a blanket, water, long shelf-life food stuffs, a small spade – items that will keep you warm and sustained should you get stuck in your car in cold weather.
  • Plan your route, check the traffic reports and make sure friends or family know the route you are travelling.
  • Ensure you have a mobile phone charger in the car, should you get stuck for a long time.

Tips for protecting pets in cold weather:

  • Keep pets warm and sheltered.
  • Pets that spend a lot of time outside will need extra food to keep warm. Also, make sure they have access to fresh water and that their water bowl isn’t frozen.
  • Warm car engines are appealing to cats – so before driving off check under your car to make sure that there isn’t a cat sheltering.
  • Rock salt is an irritant to paws, so wipe your dog’s feet when they return from a walk.
  • Antifreeze is deadly to pets – make sure it is stored safely and any spills are mopped-up.

More information on home emergency cover can be found here


For further information please contact:

Gordon, Jason or Liz at MAW Communications on 01603 505 845

Keep up-to-date with GoCompare on Twitter; @GoCompare

Notes to editors

1Source: Association of British Insurers November 2019.


GoCompare is a comparison website that enables people to compare the costs and features of a wide variety of insurance policies, financial products and energy tariffs.

GoCompare does not charge people to use its services, and it does not accept advertising or sponsored listings, so all product comparisons are unbiased. GoCompare makes its money through fees paid by the providers of products that appear on its various comparison services when a customer buys through the site.

When it launched in 2006, it was the first comparison site to focus on displaying policy details rather than just listing prices, with the aim of helping people to make better-informed decisions when buying their insurance. GoCompare has remained dedicated to helping people choose the most appropriate products rather than just the cheapest, and has teamed up with Defaqto, the independent financial researcher, to integrate additional policy information into a number of its insurance comparison services. This allows people to compare up to an extra 30 features of cover.

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