Keep Yourself Warm This Winter – And Save Money

The clocks go back this Sunday (25th October); the good news – we’ll get an extra hour in bed that morning, the bad news – it’ll be dark at 4pm! With the darker days comes the colder weather and the annual ritual of turning on the heating.

For many, this time of year can be daunting, with high energy prices it is costly business heating our homes. A cold home can lead to many problems such as frozen pipes, it can also have health implications for its occupants. Large fluctuations in temperature can cause damp and mould to grow leading to further issues and additional costs.

We’ve put together some useful (low-cost) tips for keeping you and your home warm this winter, whilst saving yourself money:

  • Don’t leave your heating on all day. Some people believe it is possible to save money by leaving heating on all day at very low temperatures. This is not true and will not save you money, it is also a huge waste of energy.
  • Set your boiler’s timer. If you are out of the house for most of the day, set your heating to come on for a couple of hours in the morning (ideally an hour before you wake up) and four or five hours in the evening. More modern timers have the ability to set different schedules depending on the day, so you can have the heating on for longer over the weekend.
  • Set your radiator valves. You should have the ability to control each radiator in your home independently, spend a bit of time getting the temperature levels comfortable.
  • Closed doors keep heat in. If you have a living room off the hallway and your front door is made of wood, you may find you get a draft. Close your living room door during the evenings and you will notice the difference very quickly.
  • If you have gaps under external doors, consider investing in a draught excluder.
  • Put up curtains over your front door. Thick curtains really do work, especially if you have a large hallway and a wooden draughty door.
  • Close all curtains during darkness hours, to help maintain warmth in your home.
  • If you don’t have central heating, try oil heaters, they are more cost effective than electric heaters, quieter and do not create dust (like fan heaters). Once the oil is heated up the electricity turns off and the temperature is maintained for a long time.
  • A modern solution would be to use a smart thermostat such as the ones from Nest or Hive. These devices connect with your heating systems and learn your daily routines and adjust temperatures accordingly. You can also control them remotely (via a Smartphone) to set your heating to be ready for you when you arrive home.
  • Loft installation is possible the greatest heat saver. Some energy companies may give discounts or even fit for free, so make sure you call them before starting any work.

Make Sure You Are Covered

Winter in Britain brings with it many headaches. If you do find yourself falling victim to the cold season, make sure you have the correct insurance cover in place to help you get back on your feet. Brownhill Insurance Group can help you cover against:

  • Frozen and burst pipes
  • Escape of water
  • Storm damage

To discuss your needs, please call us on 020 8658 4334.

Winter MOT

Looking after your home is important all year round but during the winter months, a small problem can soon turn into a major issue. Here are a few things to consider checking around the house before the winter arrives:

  • Loose tiles – Check your roof for any loose tiles that may fall off during a storm. Falling tiles could cause damage to cars parked near your property, garden furniture or worse.
  • Gutters – Getting your gutters cleaned of any build up such as autumn leaves can prevent leaks and overflowing.
  • Drains – Clearing leaves from around drains can prevent flooding around your property.

Brownhill Insurance Group are a leading independent insurance Broker based in Kent.

Fire Safety in the Home

Did you know, you are 4 times more likely to die in a house fire if you do not have a working smoke alarm?

We’ve put together some top tips to help keep you and your family safe.

      • Test your smoke alarms regularly. A faulty smoke alarm is as good as no smoke alarm!
        Top Tip – Set a monthly reminder on your phone.

        Test Smoke Alarm – It could save your life!


    • Ensure you have a minimum of 1 smoke alarms on each level of your property.
    • Plan an escape route for your entire family. Knowing which exit to take in the event of a fire will give you valuable seconds to get out.
    • Never leave cooking unattended in the kitchen.
    • Never overload plug sockets. You may not realise that even if you only use the allocated amount of sockets on a extension lead, you could still be overloading that socket.

      Is your extension lead overloaded? Use the socket overload calculator below to find out.

  • Each year up to 50% of house fires are caused from cigarettes. Put them out and dispose of them safely.

The Socket Calculator has been brought to you by Electrical Safety First.

For more safety information visit

Get Any Nice Gifts Recently?

If you have been lucky enough to acquire any new and exciting items recently you may need to re-evaluate your Contents and Valuables insurance to ensure that you have enough cover to include your new items.

Anything from an item of jewellery, fine art, luxurious coat or designer handbag, sports equipment, even a new mobile phone or furniture will increase the value of your contents and valuables.

Brownhill Insurance Group’s panel of specialist high value home insurers offer additional short-term cover for new acquisitions to help ensure our clients are protected for the interim until the insurer is informed about the new purchase. For example, insurance cover could be available for up to 60 days from the date of acquisition for up to 25% of the relevant sum insured (conditional on the insurer being notified within a 60-day period and an additional premium being paid). This kind of cover is particularly useful at for weddings, civil ceremonies, anniversaries, Valentine’s, birthdays, Christmas or other celebrations.

Even if you have not bought or received anything of significant value recently, it may be worth considering a review of your contents and valuables if these have not been evaluated recently. Some of our insurers can even offer free appraisal and valuation services, depending on sums insured.

This article was first featured in Issue 1 of BIG Magazine

Header image courtesy of Unsplash

Protecting Your Home Begins in the Garden

By making simple changes in your garden, for example, securing fences and gates and by locking away tools and equipment you can prevent an intruder from accessing your home.

The Metropolitan Police Service advises homeowners:

Making your front garden tidy and secure could prevent an intruder from entering your home. The back garden is the most vulnerable part of a house and requires careful attention to security. Fences offer vital protection for a house and can deter burglars. Garden sheds and garages are a very popular target for burglars and are often overlooked when security is being considered. Solid wooden gates offer easy entry for thieves because they are sturdy to climb and tend to be tucked away at the sides of houses.
Don’t make a burglar’s life any easier by leaving gardening tools available for him to use to force his entry.

Summer Time

A good insurance policy will insure goods in the open, such as garden furniture and a BBQ. You will also be covered for the cost of re-landscaping following an insured peril loss; so if you have expensive plants and shrubs it may be wise to check your insurance cover is adequate. For full details and limits please speak to your client manager.

For more information on protecting your home visit:

Article featured in Issue 1 of BIG Magazine

Header image courtesy of Unsplash

Inheriting A Fortune – Could you be sitting on a treasure trove?

Research shows that two out of three people have never had their heirlooms valued. – Robert Coram James

Family Heirlooms
It’s not just new items that people forget to insure. Despite the popularity of the infinite number of art and antiques programmes cur- rently on television, few people realise the true value of their inherited possessions.
Robert Coram James MRICS – one of Brownhills’ preferred valuers explains – “Research shows that two out of three people have never had their heirlooms valued, whilst almost 80% do not have adequate insurance, leaving their household contents vastly under- insured. Generally, a comprehensive household policy is sufficient for ordinary items, with most policies limiting cover to between £1,000 – £2,000 per item. However if you own more valuable items then a specialist policy will be required to ensure full coverage.”

3 Million Pound Vase
In November 2013 a rare 18th century Chinese vase sold at Christie’s auction house for more than £3,000,000. The green and yellow vase was inherited by a woman who had kept flowers in it for many years. Its true value was only realised when auctioneers visited her property to value other Asian antiques.

Accidental Damage
It is not just theft that poses risk. In fact, higher up the list of likely reasons to have to claim is accidental damage. Where possible, try to keep valuable items out of harm’s way, particu- larly of small children or excitable animals! When doing your spring cleaning, be sure not to use abrasive cleaning products on valuable items. And if you have help at home, do make sure that everyone knows how to best clean treasured possessions. It has been known for cleaners to spray Windowlene on photographs (not a great idea) and to throw away a pile of “rubbish”, which was in fact one collector’s new contemporary art acquisition.

Article taken from Issue 1 of BIG Magazine.