Can you protect yourself from bad weather?

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As I write this blog post, the snow outside is coming down thick and fast. Luckily, most of our team have made it into the office without any problems…although our journeys home could be trickier.

With the Met Office predicting colder weather still to come and widespread snow throughout the UK over this week – the bad weather is showing no signs of slowing.

Severe weather can cause whole cities to practically grind to a halt. Planes can be grounded, trains cancelled and roads closed. There’s a tendency to just grin and bear it, after all  – there’s nothing you can do about the weather…or is there?  Although no-one can actually change it, some insurance can help protect you financially against the affects of bad weather.

Travel plans:

The ABI (Association of British Insurers) says that delays at snowbound airports are usually covered by travel insurance. In most instances, cover will start when the passenger has been delayed for the amount of time specified in there policy. Normally, this is a delay of around 8-12 hours but can be as long as 24 hours.  Policies will vary between providers, so it’s worth checking your policy wording carefully to see exactly what circumstances you’re covered for.  Some may reimburse you if you miss your flight because you were unable to reach the airport due to bad weather.

Typically, you will only be covered if you cancel your policy due to circumstances like illness or redundancy. It’s unlikely that your policy will cover you if your flight is cancelled because of bad weather. The airline may offer you reimbursement if this happens. If in doubt, speak to your insurer and ask them to talk you through their terms and conditions around cancellation and curtailment.

 Home issues:

It’s possible that your home may suffer in extreme weather. If you have adequate home insurance, you’ll probably be covered for most damage caused by adverse weather. Any damage caused to the actual structure of the building should be covered by your buildings insurance policy. For example, if your roof caves in due to heavy snowfall, or a pipe bursts due to freezing conditions – you should be able to claim for this.  Damage from bad weather, such as a heavy snow fall, will usually be covered under the ‘storm’ provision within the buildings element of a policy.  As before, your full policy wording should tell you all the specific circumstances your chosen policy will  cover.

Car chaos:

Snow and ice can equal treacherous conditions for drivers. With comprehensive car insurance, you should be financially covered for any accident that occurs due to bad weather. Obviously, there will be other factors that could invalidate your policy, for example – if you were driving while over the alcohol limit when had your accident, you wouldn’t be covered.

The cost of a breakdown recovery would not normally be covered by a standard car insurance policy. You may have a separate breakdown policy with a roadside assistance provider or you may have breakdown cover as an add-on or bundled into your policy. It could be worth checking with your car insurance provider whether you have breakdown cover, and if not how much it would cost to add it.

Business blues

If bad weather disrupts your business activities and causes you to lose money, you may be able to claim on your business insurance policy, if you have one. For example, if you have planned a large business event which has to be cancelled and re-organised due to bad weather – it’s possible that your business insurance could take care of these expenses.  Business insurance policies can vary greatly, so it’s important to read all your paperwork (full wording and any endorsements) or chat to your provider to check what’s covered. You may also be covered you for lost earnings due to the loss of an essential service (e.g. electricity). Be aware, there may be specific terms and conditions around how and where the loss of a utility occurred. This will also be detailed in the policy wording.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Policy Expert.