Last month was definitely one for storms. With Dudley and Franklin all hitting in quick succession, you might almost be feeling you’ve been mugged — and it’s quite possible that more is on its way.
So what happens if your home or business property is damaged by a storm? Will it be covered by your building insurance policy?
Most policies do have a clause covering storm damage, but defining whether what’s hit you actually is a storm is a little harder. The most common definition of a storm used by insurance companies is winds of over 55 miles per hour, but you can’t rely on this. Your insurer could easily use a slightly different definition, so it’s worth checking their terms & conditions.
If your policy does cover storm damage, then issues such as roof tiles cracked or missing, flat roofs blown off, trees falling on the property or water damage inside should be accepted by the insurer’s loss adjuster. On the other hand, many policies don’t include garden fences, walls, sheds or furniture, so it’s worth checking out whether those are covered by yours. If your car is damaged in the storm, that should be covered by fully comprehensive motor insurance.
What Do You Need to Do?
We’re normally given plenty of warning of a storm coming these days. Before it hits, make sure you secure everything that can be secured, and also that your mobile phone is fully charged, in case you need to phone for assistance during a power outage. Also, take photos of the property, if possible, so that you can provide evidence of its condition beforehand, if you need to claim.
Bear in mind that the loss adjuster is likely to refuse your claim if there was previous damage or excessive wear and tear that you’ve ignored. That’s particularly true of the roof. If it’s more than twenty years old, you’ll need to provide proof that it’s been assessed professionally in the past ten years. A flat roof must have been replaced less than ten years ago.
You need to have your building insurance policy and your insurer’s emergency 24-hour phone number to hand, so that you can start your claim as soon as possible. Take photos of any damage, and cover holes in the roof with tarpaulin — but only if you can do so safely. Don’t attempt this while the storm’s still in progress.
If your policy covers emergency repairs, these can be arranged during your initial phone call, and they’ll be carried out as soon as possible. If not, you can arrange this yourself with contractors, but be sure to keep all receipts to present to the loss adjuster.
Finally, remember to keep hold of any damaged item, even if it seems like rubbish — a broken roof tile, for instance. Your insurer will want to see it as evidence.
Allied Claims hope that your home won’t be hit by any more storms. If it is, though, following these steps should ensure you’re fully compensated for any vandalism inflicted by Dudley and his friends.