Storm damage cover
Storms can cause significant damage to your home, so it is vital that you have adequate cover to protect yourself and your property. Structural damage or flooding can be caused by lightning, rain, winds, or even falling trees - and with the worsening weather situation in the UK in recent years, it really pays to be on top of your insurance needs so you don’t get caught out.
In this guide, we’ll run you through everything you need to know about storm damage cover, how to protect your home from damage, and what to do in the event that you need to make a claim.
In This Guide:
- Is storm damage covered by home insurance?
- What can be claimed for as a result of a storm?
- How to protect your property from storms and other bad weather
- How do I make a claim?
Is storm damage covered by home insurance?
Damage caused by storms is usually covered by most home insurance policies - provided that the insurance company is happy with the way in which you’ve maintained your home.
You will often need to provide evidence of the state of your home before any damage took place. If you have broken tiles on your roof as a result of storm damage, you’ll need to prove to your insurer that they hadn’t already been damaged due to general wear and tear before the storm hit.
There can also be disputes over what is considered to be a ‘storm’. Many insurers use the Beaufort scale to determine whether they should pay out for a claim. The scale places wind speeds on a scale of 0 to 12, and most insurers will have a cut-off point below which they will not consider the damage to your building to have been caused by a ‘storm’ per se.
What can be claimed for as a result of a storm?
The first thing you want to do is to check the small print in the terms and conditions of your home insurance policy so that you can get yourself clued up on what your policy includes (and excludes) when it comes to storm damage.
Some insurers will pay out for certain damage (such as damage to walls, gates, fences, sheds, outbuildings, etc.) whilst other companies won’t.
Garden furniture tends to be excluded from cover unless it is specified in your policy, so it’s always a good idea to put such items into storage if bad weather is on its way. Garden cover is usually available as a policy extra (for which you’ll have to pay more for), but it can be worth it if you have particularly expensive items in your garden such as ornaments or a barbecue.
If the contents of your property are damaged as a result of a storm, you can usually make a claim under your contents insurance policy.
The vast majority of claims due to weather are made because of flooding. Flooding has been a big problem for certain parts of the country in recent times, with many homeowners reporting that it has been difficult for them to make claims.
As a result, the government has partnered with the Association of British Insurers to put together a scheme called Flood Re to help those who need assistance due to flooding.
If your home becomes uninhabitable as a result of storm damage, your insurance company should cover the cost of alternative accommodation until your home is repaired.
How to protect your property from storms and other bad weather
Proper maintenance of your home and taking the necessary precautions in advance can significantly reduce the risk (and headache) of damage to your home due to bad weather. Some things you may want to consider doing include:
- Preparing your home if bad weather is expected (securing windows and doors, putting away items in your garden or tying them down)
- Parking your car in a garage (or at least away from trees that may fall)
- Checking that your pipes are properly lagged and that drains and gutters are not blocked
- Cutting any trees that are near to your house or other property that may be damaged
- Fixing loose roof tiles, fences, and walls in case they are further damaged during a storm
- Setting your heating to the lowest setting if you are away during winter to prevent your pipes from freezing
How do I make a claim?
You will need to contact your insurance company immediately as soon as you are aware of any damage to your property. Your insurer will be able to talk you through the process, but there are some steps you can take to make things go quicker and smoother:
- Make records of all the damage with dates, times and photographs
- Don’t throw anything away (even if they are ruined). Most insurers need to see the extent of the damage, so have these ready to show your insurance company
- Hold on to any receipts for urgent repairs that you made before you contacted your insurer (so that you can claim the cost back)
- Don’t worry if there is damage to your neighbours home as a result of something from your property becoming dislodged (e.g. a roof tile). Your insurance may already cover this, and your neighbour will be able to claim on their own policy before your insurer returns the cost
As with any insurance claim you’ll be required to pay the excess that was specified on your policy when you first took out the cover. You may also lose any no claims bonus that you have, making subsequent insurance policies becoming more expensive when it comes time to renew.