Storm Eunice is expected to cause damage to homes across the country – but what are your rights when claiming on your insurance if your property is affected?
Editor in chief of Quotegoat.com, Michael Foote, warns homeowners without buildings cover could be left footing the bill for storm damage repairs and urges people to think about getting insured ASAP.
Most building insurance policies will cover for storm damage. Insurers usually use something called the Beaufort Scale, which categorizes wind speed.
Only winds above a certain point on this scale will be classified as ‘storm force’ and severe enough to do damage to property.
Michael said: “It’s the buildings insurance part of a policy that will payout. If you’re a homeowner and you only have contents insurance you could be left with a hefty bill if something happened to the structure of your home.
“If damage occurs to a rental property, speak to your landlord who will need to make a claim on their insurance or cover the cost themselves.”
What to do if your home is damaged
Michael Foote said: “The first thing you need to do is contact your insurer. Most providers will have 24 hour emergency helplines for advice on how to get repairs sorted as quickly as possible. Make sure you take photos of any damage and include the time the damage happened so your insurer can check this with weather reports.
“If you have any photos of your property before the storm hit then submit these to your insurer too – it might even be worth taking quick snaps today before the storm hits. If you need to make temporary repairs tell your insurer and keep any receipts because “This could form part of your claim. Don’t throw away damaged items, because these may be able to be repaired or restored. If your car is damaged by falling trees, then it should be covered under most comprehensive motor insurance policies.”
“If your shed or garden is damaged by Storm Eunice, unfortunately, you might not be covered. Be sure to secure all items in your garden before the storm hits. Chances are you won’t get much luck with your insurers if your garden or shed has been obliterated.Most home insurance policies offer little in the way of cover for property outside your home although it’s always worth checking.If a tree from your neighbour’s garden has fallen into yours, you may be able to make a liability claim via their insurance”
Andrew Nevitt, Head of Co-op Home Insurance, said: “Last month Storms Malik and Corrie battered the UK and now Storm Eunice is due to hit most parts of the country.
“Predictions from meteorologists state that Storm Eunice could bring some of the highest windspeeds that we’ve seen for 20 years, and half of UK homes could be hit by winds of 85mph which is obviously of real concern. The Met Office’s red warning for wind is something that must be taken very seriously. We’re urging home owners to take action to try and secure their properties, gardens and vehicles as much as they possibly can.”
Andrew advises: “If your home is damaged by bad weather, contact your insurer as soon as possible so that they can assess the level of damage and make the necessary arrangements to deal with your claim as they may also need to help you arrange alternative accommodation. .”
How to protect your home from Storm Eunice
outside the home
- Secure items in the garden such as furniture, hot tubs, pot plants, ladders and children’s toys, or bring inside your property if you have space
- Check that your fence panels are secure
- Park your car away from large trees if possible, in case there are any falling branches
- If you are in a flood risk area, if possible move your car to higher ground where flooding is less likely – don’t drive as the flood hits as this is potentially dangerous
Inside the house
- Make sure that all windows and doors are closed and locked
- Make sure you have emergency contact numbers in a safe place ie insurance claims number and policy number, local authority and utility company contact details
- Move any valuable or essential items in your property upstairs
- Make sure your mobile phone is charged in case you need to make a call and landlines are down or there’s a power cut or outage
- Unplug all your electrical items in case of any power surges
- Know where to switch off your utilities at the mains – gas, electricity and water
- Back up computers and switch them off to avoid losing any sentimental items eg photographs
- If you lose power, have a torch at the ready instead of candles as these could pose a fire hazard
- Have a storm kit ready including any essential items such as blanket, torch, water and easy to eat non-perishable foods
- Keep pets warm and indoors
- Stay indoors as much as possible