Winter is on its way and it usually brings high winds, rain and snow, which all take their toll on shops, houses and properties. NFRN Mutual advises to its members to keep up to date with the weather forecast – check the Met Office website or listen to your local radio for regular updates.

By doing a few small checks around your property now, you can save yourself a lot of trouble later on:

1) Roof

Look out for cracked, broken or missing tiles and hairline cracks and loose sides on your felt flat roof get them repaired as soon as possible to avoid water getting into the roof. These are simple measures which can help prevent future damage.

2) Gutters, gullies and drains

Fallen leaves or snow often fill gutters; keep gutters and drains clear so that the rain water can drain away. In the cold weather the trapped water can cause the pipes to crack and burst.  Also check that drain pipes are properly fixed in place.

3) Pathways

Retailers should try and keep the pathways outside of their shops clear of fallen leaves, snow and ice where they can. In cold weather make sure you grit the paths to prevent customers from slipping or falling. Please avoid using flattened cardboard boxes.

4) Inside of Shop

Retailers should try and keep door mats flush to the door to capture any excess snow/water bought into the shop from the customer’s shoes or clothing.  If possible, have an employee regularly check around the shop for any puddles and make sure they are cleaned up immediately. Don’t forget to display relevant warning signs.

5) Unoccupied Buildings

In the winter month’s vacant properties are particularly vulnerable and it is important that you inform your insurance company straightaway if a building becomes unoccupied. Any vacant property must be regularly inspected, secure and maintained.

6) Burst or frozen pipes

If a burst pipe leaks and water comes gushing through the ceiling, it can wreak real damage on your shop and its contents. Know where the water shut-off valve is to isolate the supply in an emergency. Never be tempted to switch off your central heating; a thermostat setting of about 6°C should prevent even the coldest parts of your system from reaching freezing point. If you are away for an extended period of time and do not want to leave your central heating on, drain down the water system. And don’t forget, lagging your pipes may prevent a claim.