How much the cold weather will cost you and how to save money

Created March 2nd, 2018 by Alex Watts

The UK is currently engulfed by Storm Emma, with a red weather warning for snow in parts of the country due to the extent of the cold snap and travel disruptions aplenty.

Households across the country are also likely to see their bills rack up quickly as a direct result of the snow.

Insurance claims

Besides the inevitable increase in heating bills as people crank up the thermostat, there will also be a myriad of insurance claims due to damage caused to homes and vehicles by the storm.

Damage caused to houses, such as collapsing roofs caused by heavy snow, should be covered on home insurance, while comprehensive motor insurance is likely to cover damage caused by snow and ice.

According to The Mirror and home insurer Policy Expert, in the past, one in 10 UK adults has had to make a claim on their insurance policy due to storm damage, including damage to the roof, fences and outbuildings, as well as burst or damaged water pipes.

The average insurance claim of this kind was an average of £905.

In addition, the AA estimates around £3 million of damage was done to private cars across the UK on Tuesday alone – the first day of widespread snow.

It said around a third of car insurance claims currently being made are snow and ice-related.

Kwik Fit has also seen a 44% increase in demand for new batteries compared with the same time last year, as the cold weather means the charge required to start your car’s engine puts a greater strain on the battery.

Don’t miss out on financial help

There are also concerns that many people are missing out on the financial help they could seek to help with the cold weather, especially pensioners.

More than a million pensioners (one in three who qualify) are said to be missing out on access to two schemes designed to help with fuel bills, which the government are encouraging people to claim.

Cold Weather Payments entitles pensioners on low incomes to £25 per week during cold weather.

The Warm Home Discount Scheme also helps pensioners to get a discount on their energy bills in the winter months.

Sir Steve Webb, director of policy at Royal London, said: “Up to 1.4 million pensioners could be missing out because they fail to claim pension credit which triggers entitlement to these other forms of help.”

You may also be paying more than you need to if you’ve stuck with your current energy provider rather than switching, with reports of people who’ve rolled over onto their provider’s standard tariff paying up to £400 over the odds.

Changing tariff or provider could save hundreds of pounds, especially if your fixed energy deal is due to end in February or March.

Policy Expert also added these six tips for preventing big winter bills:

1. Check your boiler and heating system.

2. Look for any cracked, missing or loose roof tiles which could be hazardous.

3. Look for cracks around chimney pots and at the roof join.

4. Lag any pipes and water tanks in exposed areas.

5. Clear guttering and drains of any debris which can block easily and freeze up.

6. Check the pointing in brickwork and look for any areas in need of repair.

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