Be Winter Ready

by Averil @ An Post Insurance | Oct 25, 2016

It's almost November, the days are getting shorter and colder, which means Jack Frost is at your door and he’s looking to freeze your pipes, make your daily commute a hazardous task and give you the flu as an early Christmas Gift. 
Fortunately, here are some tips that’ll keep you warm and protect your home from the jaws of winter.  

Winter Motoring Tips

Post Insurance Car Insurance Winter Ready

In extreme weather conditions you should ask yourself if making a journey by road is absolutely necessary. If your journey is unavoidable you should be prepared and here are some helpful tips to help you on your way.

  • Be informed. Let someone know your route and when you expect to arrive. Also you listen to local weather and traffic reports.
  • Check your tyres. Your tyres should be at least the minimum legal thread depth of 1.6mm. They also need to be to the correct tyre pressure to give you the best chance in extreme conditions.
  • Use your lights. As we come into the winter months, motorists are advised to use dipped head lights during the day so you are easily seen. Headlights and taillights should be in working order.
  • Understand your brakes. Check your car manual and find out if your vehicle has safety assist technology such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC) or Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS). Learn how these technologies can assist your driving in harsh weather conditions.
  • Safe Distance. It takes longer to stop a car during the winter weather so slow down and allow extra distance between you and the car in front.
  • Make sure you can clearly see. All too often motorists do not de-fog or de-ice windows and mirrors which can compromise visibility. Do not use boiling water to clear your windscreen as this can crack the windscreen.
  • Beware of “Black Ice”. Black Ice is one of winter’s biggest hazards as it is difficult to see. Watch out for sheltered/ shaded areas on roads, under trees and near high walls.
  • During the winter months it is advised that motorists carry a number of essentials in the boot of their car.
    • High visibility vest
    • Appropriate footwear in case you need to leave your vehicle e.g. boots
    • A hazard warning triangle
    • De-icing equipment (for glass and door locks)
    • A working torch
  • In the event of a breakdown, you need to ensure their vehicle is well in off the road so as not to obstruct other vehicles. Make sure to put on your hazard warning lights. You should leave your vehicle, get behind the barrier (on the embankment) and call the Gardaí, on their mobile phone or roadside telephone.

Home Winter Protection Tips 

Post Insurance Home Insurance Winter Ready With the evening’s getting shorter and a slight chill in the air at night this can only mean one thing Winter is on its way and cold spells, storms, freezing temperatures  can all be troublesome for your home, to prevent weather damage the property needs to be properly prepared and it can be difficult to know where to begin.

The Irish weather can be particularly harsh on our homes so it’s now more than ever we need to protect our homes against these elements.  There are some simple steps you can take to protect your home which may help reduce repairs and maintenance.

  • Ensure chimneys are cleaned at least once a year. More than likely you haven’t lit your fire/stove since early spring. We all love nothing more than to sit cosy by the fire on a winters evening. But to stop your room filling of smoke the first time you light it or to reduce the risks of a chimney fire it’s always a good idea to get your chimney checked inside and out along with getting it cleaned.
  • Burst pipes are common during winter due to rapid freezing and thawing, potentially causing massive damage. The best way to stop this from happening is to keep your pipes warm with insulation or lagging.
  • As autumn takes hold and the leaves start falling, gutters and drainpipes will start to get filled with loose foliage. Once the blockage becomes too much, water will start to back up in the guttering and leak into the roof and down the walls of the house. Make sure downspouts direct water away from the foundation.
  • Be sure to check your rook and carrying out any minor repairs now so to help prevent a leaky roof in the future.  Inspect your roof for missing, damaged or curled shingles, corroded flashing, or leaky vents.
  • As we experience more frequent, and more violent storms, it is a good idea to trim back any bushes or small trees that could damage your windows in a high wind. Get the experts in if your trees need a trim!
  • Finally, sort out your home insurance Check to make sure that your home insurance policy is up to scratch and that you’re covered for winter-related damage. If it comes to sorting out water damage to your Christmas presents or fixing a leaky roof, you’ll be glad you had the right cover in place.