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Storm Damage: Will Your Insurance Pay…And For What?

We have all experienced the after effects of Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis.  Both building and contents insurance usually cover an individual’s property against storm damage.  You are likely to be able to make a claim if the bad weather has had a negative impact on your home.

Things for which you can make a claim are roof tiles that have blown off in the winds, damage to the house caused by lightening, bricks and mortar broken by fallen trees and debris and water damage caused by heavy rainfall.  You are not likely to be able to get a pay-out for things such as garden fences, sheds, gates and hedges unless your policy specifically says it will.  Many policies often exclude damage made to anything outside the house itself unless you have specific cover.

It is worth mentioning that in some cases insurers may refuse to pay out if you did not maintain your home to a good enough standard.  For example, if you make a claim for water damage to your house after the storm but the insurer’s inspection finds that the gutters are not clear, there may be a difficulty.  In the recent storms however it might be difficult to prove any pre-existing condition of properties given the likely extent of damage.

An alternative situation is where damage is caused by something blown from your neighbour’s property onto your own property.  The most obvious example of damage is where a neighbour’s tree would fall onto your house, garden or even car. The first thought might be to claim on the neighbour’s insurance policy, but that can be a lengthy process. It will be quicker to claim on your own insurance first.

Similarly, if a tile blew from the roof of your property and caused damage to, for example, your neighbour’s car, then that neighbour would have to claim against his own motor insurance.  It is always worth checking the policies that are effective as damage to vehicles will, subject to the wording of the policy, only be covered if the cover is comprehensive.

And whilst with cars, never drive through more than a few inches of water. The AA has reported that on Christmas Eve it rescued 603 cars deep in floodwater. Flood repairs will be expensive. If you have third party cover, these costs will fall due to you alone.

Travel claims also can be made in bad weather. Cancellations to trains and flights can be compensated. If you had a booking that ran to time, but you were delayed by bad weather, then that should be dealt with by a travel insurer as a ‘missed departure’. If public transport wasn’t running and that was the reason, again the claim should be made.

These are never easy times and there are many variables and potential solutions.  The best way to manage any risk is to prevent it in the first place and what is clear from these recent storms is that home owners should regularly check their property to ensure that, as far as the eye can see, there are no inherent difficulties or weaknesses that may be exacerbated by excessive weather.  It is also worth checking that you have adequate insurance in place to avoid any potential risk in the future.

If you would like to make an appointment to discuss a litigation matter with myself or any member of our team please call 01256 320555.

Simon Horwood

Litigation Executive

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