Experts are urging people to take some simple steps to protect their vehicles and their homes over the next few days, as sub-zero temperatures grip the nation.
Online motor insurance brokers MissQuote.ie, and their sister company, home insurance brokers Insuremyhouse.ie, have issued some “top-tip” guidance to homeowners and motorists, which they say will help to mitigate any damage that the snow, frost and ice may cause.
Deirdre McCarthy from MissQuote.ie, an online motor insurance broker whose policy holders are primarily young female drivers, advised,
“While we can’t stop Mother Nature, we can take some necessary precautions that may prove invaluable. We would urge people to familiarise themselves with these tips, so they can act if and when needed.
We would also always advise our policyholders, no matter what the weather, if you have breakdown cover on your policy, as all of ours do, to make sure you keep to the breakdown contact number handy in your glove compartment, so that if you’re on the road and you do find yourself caught out and broken down, you can make a call quickly and get yourself sorted”.
MissQuote.ie’s Top Tips for Motorists Facing Icy Conditions
- Check your tyres – thread depth and air are very important factors to consider if driving on frosty or icy roads;
- Make sure you have ample fuel in your tank – you do not want the levels to fall too low in case the fuel line freezes;
- Always check road conditions before embarking on any journey – even one that might be short in distance;
- Do not put freezing water or boiling water on your windscreen when trying to de-ice your car;
- Rather than running down your driveway with the kettle in the freezing cold, put some hot water in a zip lock bag, tie it up and use it as a make shift ‘hot water cloth’ to rub along your windscreen, windows and side mirrors.
- Avoid any unnecessary journeys in poor conditions;
- Plan your route;
- Use the correct lights for visibility – be cognisant of other motorists on the road
- Give vehicles more space than usual
- Slow down – extra surface water, ice etc. – there are a myriad of factors that mean that you show driving slower and with extra care and caution
- Pull in – if the road seems unsafe, find a safe location and pull in
Insuremyhome.ie’s Advice to Protect Homes from Sub-zero Temperatures
- Make sure that water pipes and water tanks in the attic are insulated with good quality lagging;
- Turn on taps regularly to make sure there’s a period flow of water through them;
- If you’re going out for an extended period of time put your heating on a timer if possible – or perhaps ask a friend or neighbour to turn the heating on for an hour;
- Know where the stopcock that turns off the water is located and make sure it works;
- If a pipe bursts, turn off the water at the stopcock, switch off central heating and any other water heating installations and open all taps to drain the system;
- Check the Exterior Walls of Your Home for Holes: Even small holes where cable wires or phone lines enter your home can be an entry point for freezing air. Purchase a tube of foam insulation and close them up. Then, use weather stripping to remedy any cracks around your doors;
- Keep Your Gutters Clean: Full gutters increase your chance of having ice form on your roof, and that’s not something you want to mess with! Set aside some time to clean your gutters out before the freezing temperatures get here;
- If you have outdoor plumbing fixtures you should also tend to these to ensure they don’t freeze – drain outdoor taps and shut off water to these if possible, disconnect garden hoses. If you can, it might be worthwhile insulating the outside tap pipes with towels.
Ms. McCarthy is advising anyone who needs to make a claim as a result of bad weather to consider the following guidelines,
“If you are unfortunate enough to suffer any property damage in the wake of the adverse weather, then be sure you contact your insurer immediately to initiate the claims process. If necessary, arrange for emergency repairs to be carried out to stop any damage getting worse. Where possible keep evidence of damaged goods and/or receipt everything that you replace. Photographic evidence is useful”.