The recent storm that struck the UK caused widespread damage to homes and other property. From roofing tiles being whipped off to flood water coursing through houses, tens of thousands of homes were affected and millions of pounds worth of damage done.
But how should you go about making a claim on your insurance if you need to after a storm, and what might not be covered by your policy?
What to do in the immediate aftermath of a storm
Check your home is safe. If it isn’t, or you’re unsure whether it is or not, don’t go back in until you know it is.
Contact your insurer immediately, don’t wait
All insurers advise that you shouldn’t wait a couple of days to contact them about any possible claim, but to do so immediately; most offer 24 hour emergency help lines. From the insurer’s perspective, it’s vital that any damage is inspected as soon as possible.
You’ll find the emergency number in your policy documents or, if you can’t locate them, in most cases on the insurer’s website.
You should be covered
If you have a standard, everyday home insurance policy that includes both contents and buildings cover, you’re going to be able to claim for the worst effects of a storm.
Some people make the mistake of assuming that ‘acts of god’ aren’t included in policies, and don’t claim for them, but this commonly held view isn’t actually true.
In some cases, especially for more costly claims, your insurer will send out a loss adjustor to inspect the circumstances and work out the claim sum. Loss adjusters are independent, but paid for by the insurance company.
They will visit your property within 3 days and then arrange for any repairs needed and the payment for the repairs.
If you decide to appoint your own loss adjustor, as you feel there will be less chance of a conflict of interest, you’re free to do so, but bear in mind you have to pay for this yourself. And that the hired loss adjustor’s opinion may differ from that of the insurer, with potential for slowing down any required work.
Take photographs and make lists
It’s somewhat common sense, although in the aftermath of a storm it can be easy to forget, but it’s a good idea to catalogue damage; take good, well-lit photographs (if you can) and list all damage.
You should wait until the insurance inspector has seen the damage first hand before any repair work is carried out, as ideally you need to get the green light from your insurer to say that building work can occur.
But if repairs can’t wait, make sure you keep all receipts, and make notes of what needed doing before it was done, ideally take photos prior to work commencing.
Don’t throw away items which may have been ruined by flood water or fire if you can avoid it. Sofas, carpets, curtains, kitchen items and white goods would ideally be catalogued as damaged by the insurer’s loss adjustor.
If you can, keep such items somewhere you can show them to the loss adjustor.
What you can’t claim for
Generally, the only exclusions in most standard policies where storms are concerned are for the repair or replacement of gates, fences and hedges.
Also, while you will be covered for damage caused to your home’s structure (or outbuildings) by fallen trees, you won’t be covered for clearing away trees which have uprooted without affecting your property.
Our dedicated customer service team is always on hand to help – either online or over the phone. Whether you want assistance in finding the right policy or even handling a claim, we make sure it’s all handled by experts. For more information speak to one of our experts on 0203 014 9300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org