Weather and storm damage
Stormy weather is a feature of UK winters, with gales causing around £300 million worth of damage each year, according to the Met Office.
With storms like Ciara, Dennis and Jorge hitting the UK and costing millions in flood and wind damage, it's good to know what storm damage you’re covered for. It may not be as straightforward as you think.
Does home insurance cover storm damage?
If you have a buildings and contents insurance policy for your home, it will almost certainly cover some level of storm and weather damage.
This means if your home is damaged by very bad weather, your insurance provider should cover the cost of repairs. It’s likely that they’ll also be liable for providing a safe place to stay, should you have to leave your home while repair works are carried out.
What is storm and weather damage insurance?
Most standard home insurance policies offer some level of storm and weather cover, but there are a few exclusions to be aware of.
Fences, hedges and gates aren’t typically covered against bad weather, for example. Accidental damage isn’t usually covered, either. Exclusions will vary though, so check your policy wording carefully to see exactly what is and isn’t covered.
It’s also worth noting that it can be tricky to prove that damage was caused by a storm. That’s because storms have an official definition when it comes to insurance. You might consider high winds and heavy rainfall to be stormy conditions, but your insurance provider may not agree. Some providers will use local weather-terminal data to assess the weather conditions at the time your home was damaged.
The Beaufort Scale states that “light structural damage”, such as tiles being blown from your roof, could occur at 47+ mph winds. But many insurance providers won’t consider it a storm unless winds reach 55+ mph. At this point, substantial structural damage is possible, according to the Beaufort Scale.
Occasionally, the Financial Ombudsman may be called upon to intervene where there’s an unresolvable claim dispute with your insurer.
What can I claim for after a storm?
Typically, your home insurance policy can cover the following issues resulting from hail, wind, rain, snow or ice:
- roof damage
- water damage
- sewer back-up
- frozen pipes
- fallen trees
- loss of power
You might not be covered for accidental damage on a standard home insurance policy. For example, if water enters your home through a poorly maintained roof.
Find out more about accidental damage insurance.
What do I need to make an insurance claim?
Try to keep your insurance policy details handy. It’s important to contact your insurance provider as soon as you notice any damage. Most providers have a 24-hour helpline for emergencies. But you may only be entitled to use this if you have home emergency cover.
Avoid moving anything or clearing up before you’ve taken photos of the damage to support your insurance claim. Where the damage is extensive, your home insurance provider will likely send someone out to assess the situation.
It’s helpful to have receipts or proof of purchase – a credit card statement, for example - for damaged items you wish to claim for. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t, but having them tends to make the process easier.
What can I do to protect my property?
If your home hasn’t been maintained, your insurance provider might not pay out for your claim. Here are a few simple things you can do, to protect your home and belongings:
- Check your pipes regularly and repair any leaks – no matter how small.
- Make sure your home is properly insulated.
- Keep your gutters intact and free from debris.
- Trim back any plants and trees growing near your property.
Plan ahead. If you know there’s a storm brewing, shut your windows and doors, store your garden furniture away and park your car somewhere safe to protect it from falling tiles or trees.
Find out more about garden cover.
What if I need to carry out emergency repairs?
If anything needs to be fixed urgently, you might not be able to wait for your insurance provider to arrange a repair. In this case, you’ll need to hire a professional to tackle the problem. Make sure you keep the receipt, to claim the cost back from your insurance provider at a later date.
Remember, it’s never worth cutting corners to find a cheaper tradesman. Any repair work that puts your home at further risk could end up costing you more in the long run.
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Frequently asked questions
What’s the rebuild value of my home?
The rebuild value is the amount it would cost to rebuild your home from scratch, if it was destroyed by fire, flood or a storm.
Read our handy guide: How do I calculate the rebuild cost of my home?, if you’re unsure about the rebuild value of your property.
Can I get insurance if my home’s in a flood risk area?
Yes, you could get insurance, but you’ll likely pay a higher premium since your home is a riskier prospect to insure. You might also find that you’re limited in terms of insurance providers who are willing to offer you a policy.
What is Flood Re?
Flood Re is a scheme that works with insurance companies to help people living in flood risk areas find affordable insurance.
What if I can't live in my home?
If your home is uninhabitable, your insurance provider is likely to organise alternative accommodation for you. This is usually covered as standard on your home insurance policy. Double check with your insurance provider, if you’re unsure.
How do I claim if important personal documents have been damaged or destroyed?
Contact the company that originally issued the documents, to ask for copies. Prioritise things like your drivers’ licence (from the DVLA), insurance documents (from your insurance provider), passport (from the Government passport office) and household utility documents (from your utility providers).
How much does home insurance cost?
51% of people could achieve an annual buildings and contents insurance premium** of up to
51% of people could achieve an annual contents insurance premium*** of up to
51% of people could achieve an annual buildings insurance premium**** of up to
**51% of people could achieve a quote of £151.96 per year for their buildings and contents home insurance based on Compare the Market data in March, 2022.
***51% of people could achieve a quote of £57.06 per year for their contents home insurance based on Compare the Market data in March, 2022.
****51% of people could achieve a quote of £117.95 per year for their buildings home insurance based on Compare the Market data in March, 2022.Start a quote
What do I need to get a quote?
We can help you find the right insurance policy to suit your needs and budget. All we need is some information about you and your home. This would include information like the type of roof you have and your home’s rebuild value.
We’ll then provide you with a list of suitable quotes to choose from, in price order.
What our expert says...
“Having the right home insurance in place can give you peace of mind that any repair or rebuild costs can be taken care of, if your home is damaged or destroyed by a storm.
“If you live in a high-risk flood area, or have a home that’s more prone to weather damage – a thatched cottage, for example – you may want to check your insurance policy to ensure it meets your needs, should any damage occur."
- Chris King, Head of Home Insurance
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|51% of customers could save up to £153 on their home insurance premium^^||95.6% of customers found our home insurance experience easy or very easy^^^^|
^^Based on online independent research by Consumer Intelligence during March, 2022. 51% of customers could achieve this saving on their Buildings and Contents insurance through Compare the Market.
^^^^For Home, for the period 1st June to 31st August 2021, 818 people responded to the question “When completing a quote using CtM, how did you find it?” 782 responded with ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’ (95.6%).