• Plummeting temperatures are the biggest cause of burst pipes in UK homes and hazardous weather conditions go hand-in-hand with a rise in road accidents. So here are some tips to help protect and keep you safe this winter.

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    Download our Freezing on the road infographic (PDF 1.2MB)

  • Precautions you can take

    • Get insulated. Prevention is better than cure, so to prevent exposed pipes bursting, wrap them in lagging, especially outside or in outbuildings.
    • Check your thermostat. Most modern boilers have a frost protection thermostat which turns on automatically if the temperature drops to a level that will cause your pipes to freeze. Check that this is working properly and your radiators are too – so keep your room thermostats on also.
    • Find your stopcock. Make sure you know where your home's stopcock is. Check regularly that you can turn it off easily in an emergency as if it’s not used often, it may become stiff.
    • Check pipes regularly. If you're going away for a while, don’t forget to leave the heating on at a low setting to avoid your pipes freezing.
    • Maintenance is vital. Make sure your taps don’t drip as if they freeze, they’ll block your pipes.
    • Protect your possessions. If a pipe appears to be frozen, protect everything around it to avoid any damage if it bursts.
    • If you suffer a loss or your possessions are damaged, speak to your insurer for guidance.
    • Contact your insurer as soon as possible. They will be able to offer you help and advice and guide you through the claims process and getting your house back to normal.
  • Get your car ready for winter

    If your car hasn’t been serviced during the year, make sure it’s serviced before winter sets in. Here are some other things you can do to prepare for driving in freezing conditions:

    • Get your car ready for a prolonged cold snap. Make sure your car’s service is up to date.
    • Keep your fuel tank at least quarter full. An almost empty tank won’t last long if you’re caught in a long traffic queue.
    • Check your tread. You should have at least 3mm of tyre tread for winter motoring; Consider fitting winter tyres or even snow tyres if you’re expecting heavy snow.
    • Take warm layers. If cold weather is forecast wear warm clothes and take some snacks (and even a hot flask of tea) with you, as well as a blanket.
    • Be prepared. Carry a hazard warning triangle, a torch or light, shovel and tow rope – just in case.
    • As a general rule avoid driving in snow and on icy roads unless you really have to.
    • But if you have to... drive slowly, stay on main roads, don’t overtake and give everyone and everything plenty of room. Drive in the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin, and don’t accelerate or break harshly.
    • Make sure you have a mobile with you. Tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to get there. Pre-load numbers for your breakdown service on your mobile phone and keep it charged for emergencies.
    • Make sure you clear any snow from all areas of your car including the roof. Allow extra time for the windscreens and tailgate window to clear and never leave your car to warm up unattended with the key in the ignition.
    • Get any winter maintenance work done now – check your boiler and pipe insulation.
    • If your premises will be left vacant, ensure the heating is left on low to avoid burst water pipes.
    • Avoid driving, but if you do have to go out, leave extra time for journeys. Road accidents double during spells of severe weather.
    • Avoid public liability claims. Clear and grit your driveways, car parks and walkways. It’s also a good idea to mop and dry your floors promptly if any slush or water is brought indoors from the street.
    • You and your staff may have to work from home. Does everyone have access to email, contact details and documents?
    • Check your insurance policy: are you covered for people using business equipment at home, for example? Log in to your online My AXA Account to view and print your documents.