Proactive measures for your winter insurance
Winter is here and with that we often see an increase in flooding, frozen pipes, icy roads and pavements causing chaos and disruption to homes and businesses.
Taking a proactive approach to limiting and mitigating risk will be key to protecting your business and employees from bad weather events.
Here are our top tips for protecting your property and vehicles this winter.
Protecting your Commercial Property:
- Ask a professional plumber to check over your plumbing joints for leaks.
- Ensure that pipes are properly insulated.
- Maintain your water stopcock by twisting it on and off during the course of the year.
- Conduct a risk assessment that evaluates risk of icy conditions – such as paths, steps, falling snow and icicles, roof collapse from heavy snow and cars getting stuck in snow.
- Update your Business Continuity plan for winter weather interruptions.
- Review your fire risk hazards and plan.
- Check all your roofs, gutters and drainage for leaks and blockages, especially flat roofs.
- Check manufacturing processes and materials in case they will be affected by the colder weather.
- Keep your heating on a low level to avoid waterpipes freezing if you are not going to be in the building for a period of time.
- Ensure your exterior lighting is sufficient for darker mornings and evenings.
- If you are in a flood risk area, sign up to flood warnings and ensure that you have made all the necessary arrangements to minimise damage.
Preparing your vehicles and drivers for the winter weather:
- Ask your employees to familiarise themselves with where the lights, full beam and fog lights are, this might seem a bit silly but having not used them for many months and being distracted by driving it can panic some drivers.
- Ensure that all the lights are in full working order.
- Driving slower in the dark, limited light, fog and wet weather enables your reaction times to be a bit quicker.
- When driving in the dark take extra breaks – the dark can cause you to become tired earlier than normal.
- Prepare ahead of your journey to ensure that you have everything needed for the trip. Put a shovel in the car, have extra drinks and food, blankets and wellies, ensure your phone is fully charged before setting off. Some cars have a first aid kit but if not, put one in along with a torch and reflective triangle.
- Keep your car fully maintained – check water, oil, tyre pressure, brakes, tyres and lights regularly and especially before a long journey.
- An option is to install winter/all season tyres, which are specifically designed to give increased grip in winter conditions. Check with the manufacturer to ensure you get the proper tyres for your vehicle.
- Before setting off ensure your car is full of fuel, you have let someone know where you are going and when to expect you, check the weather forecast and travel announcements.
- When driving in snow or icy conditions always pull off in 2nd gear and 3rd or 4th for downhill and use gentle manoeuvres.
- In the event of skidding, depress the clutch and steer into the skid – do not brake forcefully.
- Black ice can appear to be a just a wet patch so proceed with caution.
Some of the above will be required in terms of your insurance policy, check that you have the necessary arrangements in place to avoid any nasty surprises.