Homeowners have been advised to take simple measures to protect their properties against what could be another harsh winter.
Direct Line Home Insurance said it has found that 19.7 million people in Britain would be unprepared for severe snow and ice if it should hit this year, with the particularly mild autumn perhaps having lulled them into a false sense of security.
Some 40 per cent of homes could be vulnerable to damage such as burst pipes and broken boilers because adequate precautions have not been taken to protect them.
This is despite three million people having had their homes damaged by cold weather last year, with roofs and pipes the most likely to suffer.
"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," said Direct Line home insurance spokesperson Stuart Curson.
This comes after Hiscox found that 58 per cent of winter weather damage in 2010 occurred in the loft.
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