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Are you ready for winter?

With the nights drawing in, it’s time to prepare for the year’s harshest months. Follow these steps to be prepared for whatever winter throws at us this year.

1 Make sure you’ll be warm

Get your heating system serviced to ensure it’s running well and efficiently, before you need to rely on it. If you have a coal fire, book a chimney sweep and – for gas heaters and wood burning stoves, too – ensure that all air vents are clear and you have good ventilation.

2 Keep the lights on

Check your outdoor security lights are working. If you don’t have any, consider installing a carefully positioned light or two as these are a good way to deter burglars at night. Make sure they’re designed to be tamper-proof or at least positioned where difficult for intruders to reach. If you’re away, as a further deterrent, leave interior lights switched on or use timer switches to make it look as if you’re at home.

3 Visit the doctor – before you’re ill

Booking a flu jab could help, if you’re eligible. And stock up on repeat prescriptions in case the weather keeps you from visiting the surgery or pharmacy.

4 Check your pipes…

Find out how with our handy guide.

5 …and your alarms

Check your carbon monoxide and fire alarms are working, and replace batteries. It’s recommended to have a carbon monoxide monitor in each room where there is a gas appliance.

6 Shop for winter

It’s a good idea to stock up on spare cereals, dried, tinned and freezer foods plus batteries before the winter. And don’t forget your pet’s food, too!

7 Clear the way

Clear your guttering and downpipes and remove leaves from drains and pathways. Blocked water gullies can lead to damage when water has to find an alternative route, such as along your brickwork. This is even more troublesome when the frost sets in. Additionally, keep a mixture of salt and sand handy to put on steps or paths in icy weather.

8 Claim support

Claim any financial support to help with your heating bills. Find out if you’re eligible by visiting https://www.gov.uk/cold-weather-payment

9 Be prepared for emergencies

Keep a torch handy, know where your stopcock is and compile a list of handy phone numbers such as for your utility suppliers.

10 Have backup

Adding our optional extra, 24/7 Home Emergency Assistance, to your Benenden Home Insurance policy can offer you additional peace of mind. In the worst case scenario that your house is broken in to, we can help quickly, to organise a locksmith to secure your home, even in early hours of the morning. Find out more about Benenden Home Insurance.