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first direct share their top tips for keeping your home safe and secure this winter

14 Dec 2009

As the nights draw in and Christmas draws closer, Home Insurance might not be the top of people's priority list, but if they take steps now they could avoid a whole host of problems and worries later on. 

David Wells, Head of Insurance at first direct commented: "Having adequate Home Insurance is always a must, not least in the winter months.  Choosing the best policy is also important; for example,  first direct 's Home Insurance automatically provides £3000 extra contents cover for the month of December over the Christmas period to make sure Christmas presents are covered should the worst happen." 

Below first direct highlights some easy and simple precautions to ensure the home remains safe and secure this winter. 

Burglars beware

Around Christmas time people are more likely to be out of the house at parties and have more valuables around in the form of Christmas presents.  Here are some tips to remain secure this winter.

  • Have good quality locks on all doors and windows to reduce the risk of a burglary
  • Draw the curtains after dark if not home, and leave a light on. Try not to leave the hallway light on - a burglar may guess that there's no one at home and try his luck
  • Use timer switches to automatically turn lights or TV/radio on in the house to give the impression that someone is at home
  • When at home in the evening, always draw the curtains to prevent revealing belongings to strangers. This is especially important over Christmas, with presents under the tree
  • Lock all doors and windows at night and when out
  • Don't leave door or car keys in sight of windows or within reach of doors where they can be hooked through the letterbox
  • If there's a house alarm, set it overnight to cover downstairs
  • Lock away garden tools which could be used to force entry
  • Beware of individuals at the door; always check their identity before allowing anyone in
  • External security lighting, with infra-red sensors, will detect intruders.

Weather worries 

Homes are particularly vulnerable to storm and frost damage in the winter months, but there is plenty property owners can do to reduce the likelihood of a claim and minimise disruption to their Christmas and pocket.  

Storms and high winds can cause damage to property which can go unnoticed unless the property is checked on a regular basis, especially after a windy period.

  • Check roof tiles and slates are secure to avoid water damage in the loft/roof space
  • Make sure the satellite dish and TV aerial are fixed securely
  • Always keep trees pruned to avoid dead or long branches damaging buildings, windows, cables - or people
  • Check and clear gutters and drains regularly of leaves and dirt, as blocked gutters can cause overflow, resulting in flooding and damp problems.

Pipes can freeze and burst in the winter months when temperatures plummet. The resultant damage can lead to collapsed ceilings, damaged furniture and electrical appliances.

  • The main cause of frozen pipes is switching the central heating off completely when a house is empty, i.e. during the day. Having the central heating on a low temperature 10-15 minutes a day can minimise this potential risk without costing too much
  • Ensure exposed pipes are wrapped with insulating sleeves and make sure the water tank is insulated if it's in a particularly cold part of the house
  • An easy way to keep pipes from freezing and keep the loft warm in the winter months is to open the loft hatch to let in warm air from the rest of the house
  • Check the washing machine, taps, shower, bath, dishwasher, cisterns etc to ensure there are no leaks - even a few drops of water may cause rotting and dampness
  • Know where gas and electricity supplies can be turned off and where the stopcock is, as speedily shutting off the water in an emergency could prevent a great deal of damage.

Remember, if the worst does happen, contact your insurer as soon as possible - the sooner the damage is reported, the faster it can be repaired.

Ensure you're insured

With the increase in risk to property over the winter months it is even more important to ensure that home insurance is up-to-date and will provide adequate cover should anything go wrong.  With first direct 's home insurance, for example, home owners benefit as standard from:

  • £3000 extra contents cover for the month of December for no additional charge
  • Unlimited buildings sum insured. Cover is provided for an extensive range of events such as subsidence, fire, storm, theft and flood
  • Replacement of contents as new up to £50,000*. Cover is also provided for an extensive range of events such as fire, storm, theft and flood
  • If your building is made uninhabitable, we will cover accommodation costs**

For more information on first direct insurance products please visit


Notes to Editor

For further information on this press release please contact Rebecca Hirst on 01132 766899 or or Amanda Brown on 01132 766700 or  

first direct home insurance is provided by Aviva Insurance UK Limited.




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