Homeowners are being urged to carry out checks on their properties and to make sure they have taken out insurance as the winter weather sets in.
Housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland warned that cutting corners could mean paying more in the long run.
It said proper preparations are needed to protect homes against the weather and that owners should make sure they know what is covered by their insurance policy.
The charity said one in six households do not have home contents insurance, a figure which rises to one in three for poorer households.
Almost two-thirds (62%) of homeowners will take no action to protect their property against severe weather this year while 60% of people have made wrong assumptions about the cover provided by their insurance policy, according to research by AXA Insurance.
Gordon MacRae, head of communications and policy at Shelter Scotland, said: "With the harsh winter weather already gripping Scotland, it's vital that homeowners do not delay vital checks to their properties. We understand that times are tough and that many families and individuals are having to watch every penny they spend.
"Cutting costs on essentials like home contents insurance may save money in the short term, but it's a false economy and the cost of damage can be much higher - averaging £700. It really makes sense to be prepared and have peace of mind.
"Every winter our telephone helplines and online advice pages see a massive spike in the number of people needing advice on how to deal with burst pipes, insurance claims and, in the most extreme cases, where to look for alternative accommodation because winter damage has made their homes uninhabitable and worse still has ruined all of their personal belongings forcing them to start all over again.
"Homeowners and tenants need to be prepared and Shelter Scotland's free online advice could mean the difference of a warm, safe home this Christmas and a cold, damp and damaged property."
For free advice, visit www.shelterscotland.org.