How to prepare your home for a storm

A storm is coming - make sure your property is protected...

Lightning storm over the city of London with Tower Bridge in the foreground

There may be trouble ahead for thousands of UK households, with "Storm Rachel" set to strike the west coast later today and strong winds and snow or heavy rain forecast for much of the country over the next few days.

Some homes will have to withstand winds of up to 75mph, while others will be in danger of flooding. And the damage could prove very expensive to repair.

According to Halifax Home Insurance, the average storm damage claim comes in at £537 - and that's nothing compared to the cost of a typical flood damage claim.

So what last-minute steps can you take to protect your home when the weather turns nasty? Here are our top tips.

*Ensure gutters and drain covers are cleared of leaves and debris
*Check your roof and chimney stack are in good condition
*Keep gates and outbuilding doors securely fastened
*Store away any loose items such as garden furniture
*Cut back low hanging branches that could cause damage in high winds
*Place sandbags outside doors, airbricks, windows and any other holes if your home is in danger of flooding
*Keep a supply of salt or grit in case of snow

*Make sure you know how to turn off your water valve in case of burst pipes
*If your home is in danger of flooding, move as much furniture as possible upstairs, disconnect washing machine and dishwasher pipes, unplug electrical appliances and store everything you can as high as possible
*Prepare a home emergency kit that includes torches, warm clothing, blankets and a shovel
*Keep your home insurer's policy details and telephone numbers to hand in case you need to make a claim

10 simple ways to keep your house warm this winter

10 simple ways to keep your house warm this winter

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