Household Insurance: Storm Damage & Preparing For Bad Weather

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Ireland has spun the wrath of Mother Nature with the majority of Ireland suffering from torrential rain and heavy winds in recent days and often it’s our homes that bare the brunt of it.

We often take for granted how much our homes are put through and until we experience an accident due to a storm, we can often take them for granted. Whether your house is new or old, storm damage is a possibility, the key is to be prepared and have cover in place should anything unfortunate occur.

If a pipe bursts in your home or your roof started to leak, would you be financially prepared to handle the arising cost of repairs? The unfortunate truth is that many of us cannot afford to fork out a large sum of money un-expectantly which is for that reason that we take out insurance on our homes.

Storm Damage and High Winds

Flooding or Storm Damage is generally covered on household policies unless your insurer has stipulated specifically that cover for those perils is excluded. It is imperative to check what exactly you are covered for on your household insurance policy. Generally storm damage carries a standard policy excess unless it is otherwise advised by an insurer, while water damage as a result of a burst pipe or overflow or a cistern tank can carry a significantly higher excess. Again, you should know exactly what these excesses are.

Another note of interest is that while many policies cover against storm damage and high winds, some insurers only cover damage from high winds if they reach above a certain speed. It is important to assess your home after high wind and make sure no damage is done. If there is any damage done to your property, take note and inform your insurance provider as soon as possible. Make sure to have a qualified builder inspect the damage to give a professional assessment on the damage.

Frozen Pipes

A common problem people have during the bad weather especially during the winter is that their pipes freeze over. Burst pipes or a burst cistern tank in the attic will cause a lot of damage as the water only has one place to go, which is down through the ceiling below.

When your pipes freeze, the water inside turns to ice and expands, if the pressure is too much, this can result in a crack and it can often only take a few hours for serious damage to occur.

There are plenty of ways to avoid your pipes freezing and they are listed below.

  1. Firstly it’s a good idea to insulate any water pipes from cold moving air and keep them dry.
  2. Always disconnect the water hose from your outside faucet during the winter months.
  3. If you are going away, it’s a good idea to drain your pipes of water. This can be easily done by turning your water off at the mains and letting the water drain, run your shower, bath, sinks and flush any toilets.
  4. If you don’t want to drain the water, it’s a good idea to increase the internal temperature of your home, nothing too warm, just enough to prevent freezing.
  5. If you have an attic door, it’s a good idea to leave it open a crack, as the heat will spread faster through the house.
  6. Get an attic heater which turns on when the temperature drops below a specified level

What Else Can You Do?

It’s a good idea to make sure your home is ready for a storm and there are several ways to reduce your home’s risk of damage during a storm.  

  1. Remember to put away any tools or objects such as a wheelbarrow or deck chairs that aren’t suitable for the stormy weather.
  2. Clean any dead foliage or debris from your gutters and around your home, this allows free travel for rainwater and reduces the risk of unnecessary damage and flooding.
  3. If you have any loose roof tiles or slates or perhaps a leak, it’s best to fix it now before it becomes a bigger problem later on. This will protect you from damage and flooding.
  4. And lastly remember to check your property, take note of any damage that needs to be repairs and any trees nearby that may need some trimming.

Why Is Any Of This Important?

Storm damage or water damage can cause quite a lot of damage to your home and as a result the repairs can cause a major hole in your financial pocket

Not only this, storm and water damage can often affect your insurance premium. Having a claim will increase your insurance premium. Your no claims bonus which can be anywhere to 10% to 40% can also be affected by a claim and this will also increase your premium when it is up for renewal.

Remember that by being prepared for a storm or the cold weather helps you stay claims free and avoid any damage to your property. This helps build your no claims bonus, reducing the annual cost for your insurance premium and saving you the hassle and stress of dealing with storm or water damage.