Autumn and winter weather often means storms, which can cause havoc to your property. Already this autumn we’ve seen Storms Aileen and Brian affect large parts of the UK. In this blog, we explore the impact of storm damage on your property and how you can best protect yourself.
When storms are prevalent at this time of year, it’s a good idea to check your property and take some measures to protect it:
• Keep an eye on the weather – if the forecast is for storms in your area, with a little advance warning you can be better prepared.
• Keep your property well-maintained – this is vitally important to minimise the impact of any damage and keep your property habitable. See more on this in Maintaining Your Property below.
• Secure loose items - in high winds and driving rain, loose items can fly around and cause damage. Secure items such as ladders, washing lines, play equipment and gardening equipment; put them in your shed or temporarily move them inside.
• Look after your trees – if you have large trees in your garden or on your land, make sure they don’t have lots of loose branches or are not at risk of falling over or being uprooted. Keep them pruned and have them cut back if necessary.
• If you’re in a flood risk area, move your valuable possessions and your car, if you have one. For more information on protecting your property against floods, see our flood protection blog.
• Keep key contact numbers for your insurer, electricity, gas and water supplier, as well as insurance policy documents to hand.
How does your insurer define storm damage?
You might think the answer to that is obvious, but insurers don’t always define what a storm is, so it’s best to check your insurance policy and make sure you have adequate cover. Most buildings insurance policies protect against storm damage but they might define it in a different way.
The Financial Ombudsman receives around 175 complaints every month about building insurance claims relating to storm damage, where the most common dispute between insurer and homeowner relates to what constitutes a storm. They also receive complaints whereby insurers don’t consider damage caused during a storm as predominantly being caused by that storm.
If adverse weather conditions damage your property meaning that rain can get in and cause further damage, this is usually classed as storm damage. The Financial Ombudsman regards a storm as being weather involving “violent winds, usually accompanied by rain, hail or snow.” Some damage can occur without high winds, however. Read more information on storm definitions on their website here – and do check your insurers’ policy wording!
Maintaining your property in good order
Insurers can sometimes refuse to pay storm damage insurance claims if they feel the property hasn’t been maintained to an acceptable standard. It’s wise to keep an eye on the condition of your property and carry out regular maintenance checks and repairs. Besides, this will help to minimise the impact of any damage in a storm.
Examples of what an insurer might consider maintenance rather than storm damage issues include:
• Roof tiles – these get damaged over time with general wear and tear
• Flat roofs – these can be prone to leaks if the asphalt or other material has weathered
• Guttering – is it clear of leaves and debris?
• Downpipes – are they attached firmly to your property?
If you do see any damage, make sure you deal with it – whether or not you will be making a claim. If you don’t deal with it and need to make a claim in future, the fact you knew about the damage but didn’t have it repaired will count against you and your insurance won’t cover it.
The storm has hit – and my house is completely uninhabitable!
Most insurance policies generally cover financial loss caused by storm damage – but do make sure you have adequate cover for this. If you cannot stay in your house, your insurer will usually meet the costs of temporary accommodation while repairs take place. It is advisable to look for alternative accommodation as soon as possible, especially if other properties in the vicinity have also been damaged.
Bear in mind that your insurance policy may have a limit on how much you can spend on renting your temporary home – it’s best to check your policy before a storm hits, so that you know how much you will be entitled to should you need it.
How can Sarrani help?
We have hugely experienced contractors and storm damage restoration teams who can carry out the work needed to make your home safe, avoid further damage, and reinstate your property to its pre-incident condition. This could include tree removal, boarding up properties, ensuring the structural support is safe and providing temporary power and heating. Our storm damage services include:
• Boarding up of doors and windows
• Carpet and upholstery cleaning using the latest technology
• Contents cleaning
• Professional drying
• Mould treatment
• Contents removal and storage
• Residential storm damage repair and restoration
• Commercial storm damage repair and restoration
• Storm damage insurance claim reports
• Drying and mould treatment insurance claim reports
As always, we will liaise with all contractors on your behalf, while taking clear instruction from you to ensure that you home is repaired according to your wishes and to the highest standards. You can be certain that every tradesman or contractor we work with must meet exacting measures and their work is monitored to ensure standards are consistent.
We are paid by your insurer, meaning that there are no additional costs to you for our help in project managing the repairs. All work carried out under our supervision comes with a 1-year guarantee. Full details are contained in our terms and conditions, available on request.
For more information on how we can help, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 020 3006 3126.