Winter Weather, Did Your Home Suffer Snow Damage

Snow is a particularly damaging form of winter weather, as it can cause untold damage to your home. Your home insurance policy should protect your buildings and contents against winter weather damage, so that you’re safe from the damage caused by snow.

Snow causes significant damage to roads and homes in the UK each year. On average, the UK sees 33 days of snowfall or sleet per year according to the Met Office(1), and with 2011 winter temperatures dropping to the coldest it’s been in over 100 years(2), there is increased risk of damage to your home during a cold spell.

Snow could damage your home in the following ways:

Roof damage:

Whilst snow falls as light as a feather, layers of snow can become very heavy. A cubic foot of snow usually weighs around 0.5kg, but this can increase to much more if the snow is heavily packed and dense. A weaker roof structure, such as on a shed, greenhouse, or lean-to protecting your car, could easily be more at risk from the weight of snow. If the structure isn’t strong enough, it could collapse and cause damage to your building or contents. The main roof of your house could also be at risk from snow damage. If a large weight of snow falls on your roof and then slides off, then it could cause damage to items below it.

Burst pipes:

With snowfall comes low temperatures and risk of burst pipes; The Guardian reports a 500% increase in insurance claims resulting from frozen pipes during the winter time.(3) If you are away during winter, your pipes could easily burst with sudden changes in temperature that often come with snow. All it takes is for water to be stagnant in pipes for a short time, with sudden freezing temperatures and a cold insulating layer of snow, you could find damage to your building and contents from a burst pipe on your return.

If snow conditions are really bad, and you live in a more remote or less urban area, you may find yourself stranded in your home. You should always be prepared for bad weather during winter months and have a snow shovel and gritting material to make it easier to come in and out if your house. If you have domestic staff coming into your home, such as a cleaner, nanny or home help, you may find that you’re responsible for any injury they suffer on your property.

Your home insurance policy may protect you to up to £10million if your family becomes legally liable to pay compensation for death, injury or illness of any domestic staff employed in your home. Snow can create particularly treacherous conditions, so it’s important that you protect yourself and those who come to your home against accidents and injury.

Whilst snow can make the world look like a winter wonderland, as it covers everything in a layer of delicate white, it can also bring a darker more dangerous side of damage to your home. If you invest in good home insurance and prepare for bad weather, you should be able to enjoy all the beauty that a white winter has to offer.

[1] – http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/snow/snow-in-the-uk

[2] – http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/2011/winter.html

[3] – http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2009/feb/02/snow-insurance-cover

About John Lewis Insurance:

John Lewis Insurance offers a range of insurance products selected by the John Lewis Partnership. These include Car, Pet, Travel, Life, Wedding, Event and Home Insurance.

To find out more about John Lewis Home Insurance and get a quote visit www.johnlewis.com/insurance.


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