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Severe weather predicted to affect the UK this week

1st February 2012

  • Direct Line warns householders to take action now
  • Homes are most likely to experience damage to their roof and frozen pipes

Research from Direct Line reveals that 40 per cent of homes will be vulnerable to issues such as frozen pipes and boiler breakdowns if the predicted freezing weather hits the UK this week. The Met Office is forecasting snow, sleet and heavy rain in many areas across the UK, yet householders have not taken measures to protect their property.

Stuart Curson, head of Direct Line home insurance, commented: “As the last two winters have demonstrated, bad weather can cause serious damage to property, as well as enormous stress to homeowners. Whilst this winter has proved mild so far, the current weather predictions should ring alarm bells for many householders.

“In addition to checking that your insurance covers the cost of emergencies, taking a few simple actions such as lagging pipes and keeping your home well maintained will go a long way to limiting the damage winter weather might cause.”

Last winter, an estimated three million Brits were victims of damaged properties as a result of freezing temperatures. The most common claims were damage to roofs (35 per cent) and frozen or burst pipes (31 per cent). A further 16 per cent said their central heating failed and 15 per cent said their boiler packed up entirely.

Those aged 18-34 are the least likely to have made preparations for winter, with over half (55 per cent) yet to lag pipes, have their boiler checked or repair any structural damage to their property. In comparison, almost three-quarters (74 per cent) of those aged 55+ have already looked at ways to prevent damage to their home during the winter months.

Across the UK, Londoners appear to take the most cavalier attitude to protecting their homes for winter, with only 50 per cent of properties already primed for the advance of a big chill. At the other end of the scale, 71 per cent of people in Northern Ireland and two-thirds (66 per cent) of those in the North West have taken measures to protect their property in some way.


  • Lag your pipes
  • Know where your stopcock is
  • Insulate your home
  • Service your boiler
  • Repair any dripping tap
  • If you go away, set the heating to 15 degrees to keep pipes from freezing
  • Open your loft trapdoor so warm air can circulate to keep your attic pipes warm
  • Drain your system if you go away for a longer



  • Check your pipes
  • Thaw frozen pipes out by turning off the water and use a hot water bottle or a hairdryer
  • Pierce any bulging ceilings
  • Put buckets beneath the bulging plaster to catch any water coming though
  • Do not Use a blowtorch or any other naked flame
  • Be careful if the pipe is leaking - you could get electrocuted
  • Do not touch electrical systems if they're flooded - have them professionally inspected


For more tips visit our severe weather section

Notes to editors

Opinium interviewed a random sample of 2,020 adults aged 18+ via online omnibus 14 – 17 October 2011. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. According to ONS, there are 49,529,000 adults over 18 in the UK

For further information please contact:

Claire Foster
PR Manager
Direct Line 020 8285 8682
07900 217 264

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides car, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc. Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0845 246 3761 or visiting