29th December 2015
The insurer Direct Line has put together some helpful tips for homeowners at risk of high winds and flooding…
Before high winds strike
Shut and lock all windows and doors. Damage to garage and shed doors are also common claims so be sure to keep these closed and locked when not in use. This will not only prevent the wind blowing them off the hinges, it is good practice to keep your property secure to avoid an opportunist burglary
Remove any debris or loose items from outside your home while it is safe to do so
If possible, put your car in a garage or avoid parking near trees and other objects that could become unstable
Check where your family and any pets will be during the expected storm
Be prepared for power cuts by having a torch and blanket to hand
If a wind storm does strike
Get in touch with the insurer as soon as possible. Direct Line will usually pay for emergency repairs that need to be carried out to stop the damage getting worse
Take photographs of all parts of the home damaged as a result of storms. It may help with the settlement of claims
Use a plastic sheet or tarpaulin to temporarily repair storm-damaged roofs.
Nearly half of all weather related claims are due to roof damage. However, personal safety is paramount and if it is not safe to do so, do not attempt even temporary repairs
Damage to garage and shed doors are also common claims. Keep these closed and locked when not in use. This will not only prevent the wind blowing them off the hinges, it is good practice to keep your property secure to avoid an opportunist burglary
If flooding occurs
If you need to move to alternative accommodation, the cost is normally covered under your insurance policy, but please check this when speaking to your insurer.
When possible, take photographs of the damage to your building and contents or film it – this may help with the settlement of your claim.
Don’t throw away possessions without first discussing it with your claims adviser, as they will need to be assessed.
Do not use electrical equipment or the gas supply until it has been checked by a qualified tradesman.
For householders at risk of flooding
Ensure any drains and gutters are clear of debris so rainfall can drain from your property effectively
Place valuable and electrical items in high cupboards or take them upstairs to reduce the impact of any flood damage
Ensure outdoor furniture and other items likely to float away are safely restrained to reduce the risk of these items causing secondary damage or being lost
Establish an evacuation plan for your family. This will reduce the risk of injury to your loved ones and give you more time to save items of sentimental and material value
While it is safe to use electrical equipment, keep up to date with the latest weather and flood warnings by monitoring local television and radio services
Store important documents, including insurance policy details and useful contact numbers in a watertight bag in a dry accessible place, preferably upstairs
Make a list of useful numbers you may need – your insurer, your local council, the emergency services and the number of Floodline, tel: 0845 988 1188
Buy and fit air brick covers and flood boards to block doorways
NFU Mutual has a number of further suggestions during and after flooding
Remember that personal safety is your prime concern. Don’t go into rooms with standing water if the power is still on, and don’t use electrical appliances affected by, or in contact with, moisture.
Don’t take unnecessary risks to save possessions.
Do not drink tap water until the all-clear is given.
Your electrical system needs to be checked and safety confirmed before turning back on.