With wintery weather being felt across New Zealand, there are simple steps that can be taken to help keep your property safe this winter.

To minimise and prevent damage in severe or wintery weather be sure to check how well-prepared your house and property is for the months ahead.

  • Check roofs and gutters to make sure they are well maintained and clear of debris and leaf litter.
  • Trim overhanging branches and remove dead or dying trees to reduce the likelihood of damage during storms.
  • Add drainage to pathways that collect puddles or may ice over.
  • Check the seals on windows, doors and roofs. Insurance doesn’t cover gradual damage, so any existing or potential water leaks are best checked for and repaired regularly.
  • If your overnight low is forecast to drop below freezing, check any external pipes are well insulated.
  • If you have an old hot water cylinder, consider having it checked by a plumber to ensure it’s functioning well and doesn’t need to be replaced. A ruptured hot water cylinder can cause a lot of damage and be expensive to recover from.
  • Get fireplaces and chimneys cleaned, ensure non-electric heaters are tested for gas or carbon monoxide leaks.
  • Check electric blankets are in good working order and electric heating appliances are free of dust and have cables and plugs that are undamaged.
  • Check electric outlets and avoid overloading multi-boxes. Heaters use more energy than standard appliances so it’s best to plug them straight into a wall socket.
  • Make sure your home and contents insurance policies are current and you have the right level of cover. Be familiar with policy inclusions and exclusions.
  • Most contents policies will often cover temporary accommodation costs – this includes renter’s contents policies, and so if a place they rent is uninhabitable after a weather event they can be supported with somewhere to stay.

Some areas in New Zealand can also experience server frosts from mid-June to early August, including the central North Island, inland Canterbury and central Otago. If you’re not living in your house in these areas during winter, read ICNZ’s cold weather protection consumer guide.

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