Preparing Your Home for Winter: Insurance Tips and Checklist

As temperatures drop and winter draws near, it’s time to start preparing your home for the challenges of colder weather. From burst pipes to storm damage and fire hazards, the season can pose various risks to your property. In South Africa, the added challenge of load shedding increases our reliance on heaters and other heating appliances, potentially putting our homes at risk. However, proper planning and preparation can minimise these dangers and ensure your home stays safe and secure throughout the season.

To assist you in getting your home ready for winter, RBS has compiled a comprehensive guide to winter-proofing your home, along with insurance tips and handy advice on quick fixes to prevent common winter issues:

Assess Your Home Insurance Coverage

It is essential to review your home insurance policy to ensure it provides adequate coverage for winter-related risks such as burst pipes, storm damage, and fire hazards. Consider adding additional coverage if necessary, especially in areas prone to extreme weather conditions.

Check if your policy covers damages caused by load-shedding-related incidents, such as power surges damaging electronic appliances or fires resulting from the prolonged use of heaters and alternative lighting sources. Discuss any concerns or questions you have with RBS to ensure you understand the full extent of your coverage.

Winter-Proofing Your Home: A Checklist

Now that you’ve reviewed your insurance coverage, it’s time to prepare your home for the winter months. Here’s a checklist to guide you through the process:

  • Inspect your roof: Check for missing or damaged shingles and repair them promptly to prevent leaks during winter storms.
  • Seal windows and doors: Install weather stripping and caulking around windows and doors to prevent drafts and keep heat from escaping.
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Replace batteries and test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they’re in working order. If possible, avoid keeping your generator inside your home or garage, even if doors and windows open. Carbon monoxide poisoning kills many South Africans every year, with ten notable cases occurring in Cape Town last winter, according to the IOL.
  • Trim trees and branches: Trim back any overhanging branches that could damage your home during winter storms.
Quick Fixes for Common Winter Issues

In addition to the checklist above, here are some quick fixes to address common winter issues:

  • Protect Against Burst Pipes: Insulate pipes in unheated areas of your home, such as the attic, basement, and garage, to prevent freezing and bursting. It is also important to familiarise yourself with the location of the main water shut-off valve in case of emergencies.
  • Insulate Attic and Crawl Spaces: Proper insulation in attics and crawl spaces helps retain heat and can reduce energy costs during winter.
  • Inspect your alternative heating sources: Load shedding during the colder season means increased usage of your fireplace, furnace, or electric heaters. Have these inspected by a professional before winter to prevent fires and carbon monoxide build-up?

By following these insurance tips and checklists, you can winter-proof your home and minimise the risk of damage during the colder months. Remember, being proactive in preparing your home can save you time, money, and stress in the long run. Stay safe and warm this winter!

About RBS
Risk Benefit Solutions, better known as RBS, originated as an entrepreneurial-focused services business in 1998 and today is one of the largest fully-fledged black-owned insurance brokers in South Africa and a Level One BBBEE contributor. Celebrating 25 years in business this year, our growth has contributed to offering clients a unique approach to risk management by positioning our skilled resources as an extension of our client’s risk management team. Our company covers various services, including Insurance Broking, Risk Management, Commercial and Corporate Risk Advisors, and Corporate Vehicle Hire Services. With its head office in Cape Town, RBS has offices in Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and globally, represented through its board membership with WING (Worldwide Insurance Network Group).