Freezing temperatures trigger increased claims...

Compass, the insurance specialist, has issued warnings to static caravan owners to prepare early for freezing conditions this winter. With a 115% increase in claims for freezing pipes and escape of water year on year, almost 80% of December 2022’s claims were as a result of extreme cold weather.

Static caravan and lodge owners must prepare their holiday homes for winter as per the terms of their policy or risk claims being rejected, according to Compass. The company saw a 115% increase in total claims caused by cold weather in 2022 compared to 2021. Almost 80% of total claims in December 2022 were due to damage caused by plunging temperatures, as the UK was gripped by the coldest start to meteorological winter since 2010.

During December 2022 alone, claims increased by 66% year-on-year compared to the same month the year before. Long-range weather experts are already predicting that another cold snap is on the way this winter, with a higher risk of snowfall caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon.

This typically brings colder, drier weather to northern Europe due to the jet stream shifting course. With the UK’s weather becoming increasingly unpredictable, Compass is warning static caravan and lodge owners to ensure their unit is winter-ready to mitigate the risk of damage and to allow for claims to be processed quickly if the worst should still happen, despite all precautionary measures being followed.


With escape of water being the main cause of damage following freezing weather conditions, static caravan and lodge owners need to ensure that they complete a full drain down of their unit prior to leaving it unattended during winter. While owners may assume that this responsibility falls to the park, performing a drain down is a condition within most insurance policies, making the owner and not the park, liable for any damage that occurs.

Karen Stacey, Managing Director of Compass explains: “Turning off the water and opening the stopcock valves is not sufficient, and does not constitute a full drain down, as the shower mixer valve, taps, and some components in the water heater are still exposed to risk if temperatures drop.” As well as turning off the water supply and opening stopcock valves, there are several other important steps in the process of draining down, including:

• Turning on the heating.
• Opening the caravan’s external taps, usually located underneath the structure.
• Turning on all taps, flushing toilets, and running the shower, as well as removing the shower head and connecting pipe to remove as much water from the plumbing system as possible.
• Removing any remaining water by blowing compressed air through the pipes.
• Using non-toxic anti-freeze where standing water may remain, such as in toilets and down plug holes.
• Securing all windows, skylights, and doors to prevent cold air from entering the unit. Checking any external plumbing and insulating any exposed pipes from the cold.

ALMOST 80% of December 2022’s claims were as a result of extreme cold weather, report Compass.

Stacey continued: “A lot of parks provide a drain down service, and owners should take advantage of this. However, it’s important not to leave this too late, as parks may have hundreds of units to complete, and weather conditions can change very quickly, as we have seen this October.

“If a park does not offer this service, and the owner does not feel confident doing the drain down themselves, they can hire a professional to do this for them. Even units with an automatic drain down system installed may not be covered in the event of a loss, as all precautionary measures need to be taken into account.

“With claims relating to damage caused by frozen pipes and escape of water ranging from a few hundred pounds to a total loss, we urge caravan and lodge owners to take the necessary action to protect their holiday home during the winter months as soon as possible.”


With more wet weather forecast, and reports of flooding in areas which have previously been unaffected, there have been a number of holiday parks impacted across the UK, Compass warns. Karen adds: “The first storm of 2024, Storm Henk, has caused significant flood damage to holiday caravans across the UK.

“Our stats show that storm and flood damage make up 32% of insurance claims, and in one such instance, an entire static caravan was destroyed during a storm, resulting in a £148,590 claim. “In flood-prone areas, holiday home owners may need to check that their policy does not have flood-related restrictions or requirements, such as fitting a floatation device.

While floods cannot be predicted or prevented entirely, having a comprehensive insurance policy in place can help avoid being left out of pocket should the worst happen”.
For more information on specialist caravan and leisure insurance, visit


Compass Insurance
0344 274 0276