Here’s a typical storm scenario: high winds causing extensive damage to roofs followed by rain causing extensive damage to possessions. Depressing: yes. Predictable? Also yes. But before you get overly stressed there are plenty of practical measures you can take to safeguard you, your family and your property. Here’s what you need to know.
How to deal with storm and gale damage
According to the ABI the average cost of gale damage each year is at least £300 million
A gale is defined as wind with a speed of 39-46 miles per hour
Some of the most common storm claims are for roofs, aerials, glass, chimneys and building damage.
The worst storm in British history took place in 1703 when a hurricane ripped across East Anglia killing 8000 people
Preventative measures to take before a gale or storm:
Check your chimney, roof and pointing are in good condition. Also check your aerial and satellite dishes are secure.
Secure any loose panels on fencing and check your garden gate is in good working order
Cut down any loose or overhanging branches in your garden, particularly any close to windows or power lines. Remember the responsibility for the safety of trees rests with the owner of the land on which the trees are situated. Also bear in mind that some trees are protected so you may need to speak to your Local Authority before wielding your axe
Keep gutters free of debris and check that the brackets are not rusted through. Also check the brackets are fixed securely to the fascia board, particularly if the fascia board is showing signs of decay. Please be careful on that ladder though!
The Met Office has been known to occasionally get it wrong but it’s still a useful resource. Sign up for email alerts, download the smartphone app or follow on Facebook or Twitter for the latest news.
What to do when a gale is imminent:
Move ladders, garden furniture, children’s toys or anything else that could blow around your garden
Close and securely fasten doors and windows, garage doors and loft trapdoors
If possible park vehicles in a garage. If not possible park away from trees, walls, fences or buildings which can be weakened during strong gales
Make sure pets are protected and small outside pets brought inside
Prepare a storm emergency kit in case you need to leave your home for a while. Pack copies of your home insurance, warm clothes, medicines, a torch and batteries and your mobile phone
Stay indoors and do not attempt to repair damage outside while the storm is in progress
If you live in an old house with tall, weak chimney stacks it’s wise to move beds from directly beneath them
Use a plastic sheet or tarpaulin to temporarily patch up damaged parts of the roof that are easily and safely accessible. If extra coverage is needed for higher points, call your insurer – do not attempt to get on the top of the roof yourself.
Be careful - don’t touch electrical or telephone cables if they’ve blown down or if they’re hanging loose
Call your insurer as soon as possible. Some can settle small claims over the phone and will usually pay for all emergency repairs to prevent damage worsening
Check in on vulnerable neighbours or relatives and help them make any arrangements for repairs
List all damage to your property and don’t throw anything away incase it’s needed for the claims process. It’s often helpful to photograph or video the damage.
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