Claiming for wet weather damage - what are your rights?

Holly Thomas / 11 February 2014 ( 22 January 2018 )

Extreme weather - torrential rain, heavy snow, ice and powerful winds which threaten to bring power cuts and travel chaos, all create havoc for many who are having to make claims on insurance for damage to homes and cars

One in 10 households have had to make a claim in the past due to bad weather creating costly chaos in their homes, including damaged roofs, fences and outbuildings, as well as burst or damaged water pipes.

Insurers say the most common claims to homes and property are or dislodged tiles or slates, windows broken by debris carried on the storm, dislodged aerials that have gone on to cause further damage and trees or branches brought down by high winds, as well as flooding.

All this extreme weather is bad news for cars too. Aside from water damage, most claims are routine for severe weather, however; and include falling branches, tiles and other debris – while some cars are blown off the road.

What can you do?

If there is a chance that your home or property could be damaged there are steps you can take to minimise and manage it.

Check for any cracked, missing or loose tiles and replace them. If a roof is in disrepair, the weight of snow or high winds can be hazardous.

Clear your guttering and drains of any debris such as leaves, mud and stones; they can block easily and freeze up.

Stormy weather can bring down branches, so check any trees on your property and make sure they've been pruned back to limit the risk of damage.

If heavy rain is forecast in your area, ask your local council for sandbags to help protect your property from water seeping in.

If possible, take photographs of any damage to your property.  This will prove useful when making an insurance claim. Following flooding or damage to your property, do not use gas or electrics until they have been checked by a qualified tradesmen.

If you're forced to move to alternative accommodation, make sure that you have secured your property, locking all doors and windows and boarding up any gaps. Drivers should take great care to avoid flooded or icy routes. 

Will claims lead to premium increases?

The cost of insuring a home rose by 8.5% during 2017, according to Consumer Intelligence, a company that provides data for the Office for National Statistics. Anyone making a claim may lose their no claims discount next year, and so may have to pay an even higher charge.

Power cuts

Homeowners affected by a cut can claim compensation from their local electricity distributor for a power cut caused by bad weather – but only if the power has been off for 24 hours or more.

According to Citizens Advice, you should be paid compensation without having to claim. But if you don't receive your money you can still make a claim by contacting your electricity distributor – not your energy supplier. You can find out the correct firm to contact on the Energy Networks Association website

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.