Storming Your Insurer — Will You Get a Payout?

Severe weather warnings have been so common over the past few years that it’s easy to get blasé about them. However, the Met Office only issues them when there’s a “high level of certainty” that there’ll be “very dangerous” conditions — where there’s a “risk to life”.

Your immediate priority in such a case is going to be ensuring you and your family are safe, but when its over, you might find that your property’s been damaged. This could be anything from broken fences or trees blown down to damage to your roof or windows broken by falling debris.

Damage like this might be obvious, but it’s important to check carefully after a storm, in case you’ve missed something. Are your gutters leaking, for instance? Or are the tiles on your roof cracked or missing? You may not be able to see this from outside, but a good method is to go up into the roofspace in daytime, with no artificial lighting, and search for the tell-tale pinpricks of light coming through.

If the damage is serious enough, you may need to make an insurance claim. The good news is that most home insurance (as well as commercial business and comprehensive motor policies) will pay out for storm damage. The bad news is that insurers’ terms vary. If you make a claim without checking, you could find the loss adjuster turning you down.

Will Your Claim Be Successful?

Although your home building insurance policy will almost certainly include “storm damage”, that doesn’t automatically guarantee that your insurance claim will be successful. There’s still plenty that can go wrong.

This includes, quite simply, defining what is a storm and what isn’t. In practice, we know if we’ve been hit by a storm — both because of the impact it’s had and because it’ll have been given a name. However, what we call a storm and what the insurers call a storm aren’t always the same thing.

In fact, not even the various insurers can agree about this. The main defining factor is wind-speed, but for different insurers it can be anything from 35 mph to 55 mph. In the same way, the amount of rain or the depth of snow can vary, making the same event a storm or not to different companies.

There are also variations in what’s included in the storm damage they’ll cover. For instance, some insurers won’t pay out for damage to your fences, since they’re seen as high risk.

It’s vital to contact your insurer as soon as possible, if your property has suffered storm damage. The trouble is that, if you inadvertently claim for something that’s not covered, the loss adjuster may refuse payment. That’s why it’s vital to have a loss assessor like Allied Claims on your side. You won’t have to storm your insurer’s castle — we’ll do that for you.


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