Hard pressed homeowners and tenants across Scotland are being urged not to cut corners on insurance and to carry out a winter health check on their home before severe weather hits and they find it’s too late.
According to leading housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland, one-in-six households lack home contents insurance – rising to one in three amongst poorer households.
The charity says that it is worried that struggling households in both the social and private rented sectors are cutting things like home contents insurance to save money or because they wrongly believe they are covered by the landlord’s policy.
With Meteorologists predicting another harsh winter, Shelter Scotland says this is leaving thousands of households badly exposed should the worst happen this winter.
Research shows that 62% of homeowners will take no action at all to protect their property against severe winter weather, despite insurers having to pay out £7million per day – a total of £650 million – during last year’s arctic winter weather.
To help households prepare, Shelter Scotland is offering free online advice with help on insurance policies, with advice on how to prevent winter damage and deal with any problems that arise. Help is also at hand for the 770,000 households in Scotland living in fuel poverty on how to get help to pay energy bills.
Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said:
“Every winter our telephone helplines and online advice pages see a massive spike in the number of people needing advice on how to deal with burst pipes, insurance claims and in the most extreme cases where to look for alternative accommodation because winter damage has made their homes uninhabitable and worse still has ruined all of their personal belongings forcing them to start all over again.
“We understand that times are tough for households but we are concerned that those feeling the pinch of rising costs have cut out their contents insurance which unfortunately can prove a false economy. With the average cost of house insurance at £143 per year – that’s less than £12 per month, compared with the average cost of damage which is around £690 – it really makes sense to be prepared and have peace of mind.”
The most common issues faced by households during winter months include damage to roofs and gardens, power failure and boiler and central heating breakdowns. Last year’s cold weather conditions contributed to an 80% increase in burst pipes and escape of water in Scottish households, with the average costs of repair work estimated at £2,250 per affected household.
Winter Health check advice here: http://scotland.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/advice_topics/repairs_and_bad_conditions/winter_weather_precautions
Notes to Editors:
1. Shelter Scotland provides expert support services, online advice and a free national helpline for everyone facing housing and homelessness difficulties. For advice and support visit http://scotland.shelter.org.uk or call 0808 800 4444.
2. Spokespeople are available for interview – call the media office on 0844 515 2442.
Shelter Scotland believes everyone should have a home. We help people find and keep a home. We campaign for decent housing for all.
Contact: Sabina Kadic-Mackenzie
Phone: 0844 515 2442