Over 18 million home owners in the UK have yet to carry out basic checks on their properties this winter, new research reveals.

In the last two years 37% of British people have been affected by winter weather related problems amounting to an average repair bill for damage of £453.98 but only one third have appropriate home emergency or insurance cover.

Sainsbury’s home insurance is urging home owners to carry out as many basic maintenance checks as they can, to protect their home. They can prevent problems by having their boiler serviced or checking and bleeding radiators.

Its research shows that in the last two years, weather related incidents have cost British home owners a collective £7.9 billion to repair. The most frequent problems including blocked guttering, leaking roofs and damaged boilers.

Some 10% have suffered from a broken boiler, the same percentage that has fallen victim to blocked or overflowing guttering. Some 9% have had roof tiles damaged, with 8% suffering leaking roofs. Wind damage to property has affected 6% of homes and 5% have had a leaking radiator. The research also shows that frozen pipes have affected 4%, and 2% have had pipes burst in their home.

In line with the conditions of most home insurance policies, households should ensure they maintain good upkeep of their property all year round in order to minimise the risk of damage and needing to make a claim.

‘There are a number of measures that homeowners can take to minimise the risk of falling victim to winter weather damage to their home. Having your boiler serviced, checking and bleeding your radiators and clearing your guttering are easy to do and could prevent the need for costly and inconvenient repairs at this time of year,’ said David Barrett of Sainsbury’s Home Insurance.

‘Ultimately it’s important to ensure that you have a good quality home insurance policy in place. It’s also worth checking if you have home emergency cover, which comes as standard on our Premier Cover Home Insurance, as this will help you find an approved tradesman in the event of a home emergency, like escaping water or if your heating or electricity fails,’ he added.

Other things worth considering include checking that loft insulation is thick enough, turn off water to outside taps and insulate them, seal draughts, protect garden furniture, unblock external drains, and stock up on salt for driveways.