Our customers

2020 events prompt home maintenance boost ahead of winter weather

But some residents focus on cosmetic changes above structural care.

 Portrait of a smiling female carpenter sending a voice message with smartphone in her workshop.
  • Two fifths of UK residents are taking extra precautions to get homes ready for winter
  • A quarter of UK householders have experienced home damage due to extreme weather
  • Five out of six residents carried out home improvements during 2020 lockdown
  • But decorating and decluttering are more popular than home maintenance tasks

Millions of UK residents are getting their homes winter-ready, with lockdown and 2020 storms prompting residents to take action.

A survey from Aviva finds that almost two fifths (38%) of UK adults have carried out extra home maintenance work during 2020, compared to previous years.

Furthermore, more than half (56%) of UK residents are taking additional precautions this winter, with clearing out gutters, securing roof tiles and lagging pipes added to some ‘to-do’ lists for the first time.

This is encouraging news, given that almost a quarter of UK residents (23%) - equivalent to 6.4 million households* - have experienced damage to their homes due to extreme weather.

The most common weather-related property issues are revealed as:

Home problem caused by weather event

Percentage of weather-damaged homes experiencing this problem

1. Damaged / removed roof tiles

36%

2. Damaged / fallen fences

28%

3. Damage to garden plants e.g. fallen trees / hedges

21%

4. Damage to outhouses / garages / greenhouses etc

19%

5. Flooding

17%

6. Burst pipes due to freezing

15%

7. Damaged / fallen guttering

14%

8. Damaged gates

13%

9. Damage to chimneys / chimney pots

11%

10. Broken windows

10%

The study also found a third of UK residents (31%) are concerned about potential damage to their homes as winter approaches.

However, a separate Aviva survey carried out in May 2020 suggests home maintenance may be avoided in favour of cosmetic changes at home. While 85% of UK residents overall had undertaken home improvements during lockdown, general maintenance tasks were less popular than the likes of gardening, decluttering and decorating.

Andrew Morrish, UK Claims Director, Global General Insurance, Aviva says: “2020 has meant many people have had extra time at home, giving them the opportunity to tackle outstanding jobs around their properties. The storms earlier this year may have focused minds too, as people could see the damage caused by extreme weather.

For anyone who hasn’t already examined their home to make sure it’s winter-ready, now is the perfect time

"However, we also know that creating a beautifully decorated room can be more enticing than checking roof tiles or fixing fences, so it’s not a surprise that some residents have focused on more cosmetic changes.

“For anyone who hasn’t already examined their home to make sure it’s winter-ready, now is the perfect time. Bad weather can happen in any season, but our storm claims tend to increase during winter months - so we’ve put together a checklist to help people get ahead of the worst of the weather.

“We are on hand for all of our customers who need to claim as a result of weather damage, but prevention is always better than the cure. We’d urge people to spend a few moments getting their homes ready now, to avoid potential problems in the future.”

Aviva’s winter-ready home check list:

  • Examine your roof for any missing / loose tiles or slates. Aviva research suggests roof damage is the most common home issue caused by extreme weather, so it’s important to check yours is in good repair.
  • Secure your fences and gates. These are also very susceptible to weather events, particularly strong winds, so ensure posts are sturdy and there are no loose or missing panels.
  • Ensure gutters and downpipes are attached securely and clear out your gutters and drains. Leaves and rubbish can quickly build up and weigh gutters down – and the added weight of snow can be (literally) the breaking point for some.
  • Get your chimneys swept. There’s a greater risk of fire if your chimneys are full of debris, so call out the sweep before you light.
  • Warm up your stove: It’s estimated that around 1.5 million UK households now have wood-burning stoves. If you haven’t used yours for a while, before firing it up to the max, set a couple of low-level fires first. This will help to minimise the risk of cracking bricks.
  • Get your boiler serviced by a professional. It’s also a great time to think about boiler cover, in case of breakdowns.
  • Lag your pipes. And take extra care by putting the insulation on top of pipes, rather than underneath. Lagging at the bottom of pipes will prevent rising heat reaching them. Remember insulating jackets for your water tanks and cisterns too.
  • Insulate your loft. This can make a world of difference in stopping heat heading out through your roof.
  • Replace damaged seals on doors and windows. An old-fashioned draft excluder can also be a great addition to keep heat in the home or in a particular room.
  • Look after your taps. It’s a good time to insulate any outdoor taps and repair any that drip.
  • Read your home insurance documents: Home insurance is designed to cover unexpected and unpredictable events rather than general wear and tear, so familiarise yourself with your policy so you know what’s covered and what isn’t.  

- ENDS -

Media Enquiries

Sarah Poulter

Group External Communications

Notes to editors:

  • For information on how Aviva is helping our people, customers and communities impacted by COVID-19 visit: www.aviva.com/covid-19-our-response/ 
  • Aviva is a leading international savings, retirement and insurance business. We exist to be with people when it really matters, throughout their lives – to help them make the most of life. We have been taking care of people for more than 320 years, in line with our purpose of being ‘with you today, for a better tomorrow’.
  • Our vision is to earn our customers’ trust as the best place to save for the future, navigate retirement and insure what matters most to them. In 2019, we paid £33.2 billion in claims and benefits on behalf of our 33.4 million customers.
  • We will focus on the UK, Ireland and Canada where we have leading market positions and significant potential. We will invest for growth in these markets. Our International businesses in Europe and Asia will be managed for long-term shareholder value. We will also transform our performance and improve our efficiency. Our transformation will be underpinned by managing our balance sheet prudently, reducing debt and increasing our financial resilience.
  • Total group assets under management at Aviva group are £522 billion and our Solvency II capital surplus is £12.0 billion (HY20). Our shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and we are a member of the FTSE 100 index.
  • For more details on what we do, our business and how we help our customers, visit www.aviva.com/about-us 
  • The Aviva newsroom at www.aviva.com/newsroom includes links to our image library, research reports and our news release archive. Sign up to get the latest news from Aviva by email.
  • You can follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/avivaplc/  
  • You can follow us on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/aviva-plc 
  • For the latest corporate films from around our business, subscribe to our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/aviva 
  • We have a Globelynx system for broadcast interviews. Please contact the Press Officer noted above if you would like to make a booking.

More from our Newsroom