Golden retriever spies on neighbours through hole in fence
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As winter arrives, Brits across the country are clearing up their homes and gardens for winter. Securing your property to keep it safe and warm throughout the cold, wet weather is essential to avoid unfortunate household mishaps – but some accidents just can’t be avoided. Experts at Paving Direct have revealed their top tips to help you prepare and protect your home this winter to avoid landing yourself at the heart of an awkward legal dispute.
How to prepare a home for winter
Clearing piles of autumn leaves and fallen bare branches from your garden is just one way to get your home ready for the tough weather.
While autumn leaves won’t cause too much damage to neighbouring properties in high winds, loose roof tiles and rogue rubbish bins could have a more detrimental effect on passer’s by.
These common winter mishaps may be a real accident but home insurance policies and negligence laws may say otherwise.
Paving Direct told Express.co.uk: “If a storm rips apart your garden, and sheds or fences get blown into neighbouring properties causing damage, it’s unlikely your policy will pay out, according to the Association of British Insurers.
“This is because in some cases fences are excluded due to having a flimsy construction – so ensure you have taken care to bolster the strength ahead of winter.”
Fencing and sheds
Securing fences and sheds is perhaps the most important task this winter if your property shares a fence with one or more neighbours.
The fencing debate is a long-standing feud among Brits – though the easiest way to find out the legal ownership of property fencing is in the title deeds to your home.
Paving Direct told Express.co.uk: “Fence panels can become loose and blow away, while sheds can be destroyed with debris striking nearby homes.
“As you prepare your home for winter, consider reinforcing the fences, checking for loose panels and on the shed, if possible, potentially removing a few planks of wood to allow wind to pass through.”
Secure wheelie bins
Putting the bins out can’t be avoided – especially during the indulgent festive season.
Keeping your bins safely tucked away once emptied is key to avoiding freak accidents during periods of harsh weather.
Whipping winds could quickly send your bin flying into a passer by, moving vehicle or even onto your neighbours driveway.
To avoid potential damage to those around you, keep your empty bin secure in a tight spot between walls or surrounded by a few bricks on the ground to keep it from wandering.
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Cutting back bare branches on flimsy trees could save you a negligence claim this winter, says Paving Direct.
Trees can quickly lose branches in wet and windy conditions, causing some real damage to your neighbours windows.
Semi-detached, cul-de-sacs and terraced houses are the most vulnerable to this, so pay particular attention to low hanging or loosely joined branches on your garden trees.
Simply cut back with a pair of secateurs and throw onto that winter firepit for some cold-season fuel.
Roof tiles and aerials
In high winds and rough weather, loose tiles could fall from the roof, damaging neighbours car windscreens, green houses and windows.
If you suspect a tile is loose or you have been putting off getting an old issue fixed, now is the time to do it.
TV aerials also pose a threat during harsh weather as they can be easily ripped from our homes.
Check your aerial is secure and tightly bonded to the wall to avoid unnecessary damage.
Why you should check your home insurance policy this winter
Paving Direct has released a guide to winter property protection urging home owners to check their insurance policy for legal liability and to what extent the policy covers this.
It told Express.co.uk: “All of this could happen following adverse weather, so it’s wise to know what your current policy covers in terms of legal liability and to what amount.
“Most insurers won’t pay out if you knew the problem could occur, so make sure to do your checks and make any preparations ahead of winter.”
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